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Maine Family Planning provides affordable care options

HOULTON, Maine — Much has changed in the area of affordable reproductive health care services for women, men, teens and transgender people in recent years.

Heather Curran, family nurse practitioner at the Maine Family Planning office at 91 Military St. in Houlton, said the services offered today are far more encompassing than they were 40 years ago.

“A lot has changed,” Curran said. “The core of our business is all different types of birth control from IUDs, which are done here in the office, to birth control pills and condoms. But we also see a lot of men and women for STD testing. I think a lot of people though, just don’t know what it is we do.”

Maine Family Planning offers a wide range of birth control methods; performs annual wellness exams and provides other preventative care, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings; conducts STD testing and treatments; pregnancy testing; transgender health care and abortion services.

Curran said another resource that is offered, that many are not aware of, is HIV prophylactics for those who are high risk to help prevent the spread of the disease.

There are no age restrictions on who can use their services, Curran said. About 80-85 percent of those visiting her office are female.

“In Maine, from age 15, you can make your own decisions on birth control without a parent,” Curran said. “We do get a lot of high schoolers, and they don’t have to use insurance.”

Since the Houlton office is only open on Thursdays, Curran said they see about six to eight patients per week. The Houlton location is not open additional days because the numbers simply have not warranted it.

“We talked about expanding our clinic, but if we don’t have the numbers, it will not happen,” she said.

Those who do not have insurance or may have difficulty paying for their care may be eligible for the Maine Family Planning’s sliding scale. Medicaid expansions have also improved what services are covered.

According to their website, the Family Planning Association of Maine (now Maine Family Planning) was founded in 1971 by a group of individuals dedicated to the proposition that every Maine woman should have equal access to high-quality reproductive health services. Through their tireless efforts, sometimes against great odds, our founders created a force for statewide family planning.

Two Mainers who played a central role in our creation, David and Sherry Huber, went on to advocate for reproductive freedom as members of the Maine Legislature. Myrna Daigle opened the first family planning clinic in Aroostook County and Mabel Sine Wadsworth started the first family planning clinic in Maine to offer contraceptives.

The Houlton office is one of three in Aroostook County, with locations also offered in Presque Isle and Fort Kent, and one of 18 located throughout the state.

For information on Maine Family Planning, visit the organization’s website  https://mainefamilyplanning.org/

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