Maine people have a right to know about the use of dangerous phthalates in our everyday products. That’s why Mainers across the state signed petitions to initiate rule-making on four dangerous phthalates. The rule would name four phthalates as priority chemicals and require manufacturers to disclose their use in products under Maine’s Kid Safe Products Act.
The Maine DEP is holding a public hearing on the rule on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 28 Tyson Dr., Augusta. Parents, scientists, health professionals, and other Mainers will be testifying in support of the rule. Join us at noon to show your support. Email Kathy at email@example.com to let us know you are planning to attend.
Phthalates are found in hundreds of products we all use every day, including soft vinyl products like shower curtains, raincoats, and lunch boxes, as well as many personal care products like shampoo and body lotion. Health effects associated with phthalate exposure include birth defects in baby boys, learning disabilities, asthma, and infertility & reproductive harm which can also lead to testicular and prostate cancer later in life. Phthalates are found in the bodies of most people – including all 25 Mainers who were tested for phthalates this year. (Read Hormones Disrupted to learn more.)
Can’t attend? Write a public comment that we can submit to the DEP on your behalf. Hand written comments make an impact. It’s easy. Write your comment and be sure to:
Once you write your comment, mail it to the Maine Women’s Lobby at 124 Sewall St., Augusta, ME 04330, Attn: Kathy. We’ll present it with others from across the state at the hearing on July 29th.
You can also sign our online petition at http://bit.ly/1nM6L0v.
Read about Paige Holmes’ experience as one of the 25 Maine people who was tested and found phthalates in her body: Careful shopper or not, your body may still be polluted with toxic chemicals. Her words describe how thousands of Maine parents feel: “Where is my exposure coming from? The most frustrating thing for me, as a mother, is not being able to answer that question. If I am exposed to any chemical, my sons are probably exposed too. But complete information on the chemical content of products is almost non-existent, leaving me unable to protect myself and my loved ones.”
Mainers need to know when our products have dangerous phthalates in them. It’s time for the Maine DEP to act.
Maine Choice Coalition
Monday, June 30, 2014
Augusta – The Supreme Court today dealt a blow to women’s ability to access contraceptives, when it ruled “closely held” corporations can refuse to cover birth control for their female employees. The Maine Choice Coalition called the ruling unprecedented and deeply troubling, but said Maine is not required to change state laws following the Court’s decision.
The cases in question are Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation v. Burwell. They came about when the two companies challenged part of the Affordable Care Act requiring health insurance coverage for a host of women’s health issues, including all FDA-approved contraception. The companies argued that covering certain forms of birth control violated their religious beliefs. Separate federal appeals courts ruled against the companies, finding that corporations are not protected under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Today, the Supreme Court overturned those rulings.
In 2014, the Maine Legislature rejected an attempt to allow employers to use their religion to discriminate. The Coalition said that while today’s decision challenged federal policy, it does not change state laws, and called on the Maine Legislature to continue its history of rejecting discrimination.
The following quotes can be attributed as noted:
Dr. Bets Brown, Public Policy Co-Chair, American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Maine:
“We are truly disappointed in today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The decision will allow employers to impose their religious beliefs on employees, and employees’ use of contraception is none of their boss’ business. More women will now struggle to access reproductive health care.”
Alison Beyea, Executive Director, ACLU of Maine:
“The Constitution gives us all the right to our religious beliefs, but it does not give individuals the right to impose their beliefs on others. The Court got it wrong in ruling otherwise today.”
Ruth Lockhart, Executive Director, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center:
“Maine has a long history of protecting the rights of women to make the decisions that are best for them, including using birth control so they can decide if and when they have children. We are confident the Maine Legislature and the people of Maine will continue to stand up for that freedom.”
Kate Brogan, Vice President of Public Affairs, Maine Family Planning:
“Although the Court gave bosses the right to take away women’s access to affordable birth control, we are confident most bosses will choose not to, and millions of women will still be able to access the care they need under the ACA.”
Eliza Townsend, Executive Director, Maine Women’s Lobby:
“The Supreme Court did the wrong thing today. A woman’s healthcare decisions should be made with her doctor, not her employer. This is a disappointing example of the importance of the courts in the lives of us all. Courts matter.”
Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy – Maine, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England:
“Birth control is important preventative health care for women and is used for a variety of health care including endometriosis, migraines, menstrual regulation, and family planning. That’s why we will continue to work to make sure all women have access to affordable birth control without any barriers in their way.”
Rev. Sue Gabrielson, Executive Director, Religious Coalition Against Discrimination:
“As diverse people of faith, we are glad to live in a country that protects religious freedom, but this Supreme Court case is not about that freedom. This case is about employers using their personal religious beliefs to interfere in a woman’s personal healthcare decisions. We do not believe that religious freedom should ever be used to discriminate against others or break the law.”
For more information, contact Kathy Kilrain del Rio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The promise of May flowers has finally brought forth a kaleidoscope of beauty across Maine. New buds, green grass, buzzing bees, and abundant wildlife are reminders of the strength and many gifts of our glorious state. And that vibrancy is infusing the work of all of us at the Maine Women’s Lobby. We’ve been joined by new interns and volunteers who are helping us for the summer. Isabel Mullins has joined the staff of our sister organization, the Maine Women’s Policy Center, as the 2014 Linda Smith Dyer Fellow. And we are busily working on the launch of several new projects. Here’s a glimpse of some of what we’ve been up to this month.
You can help! Sign the online petition to show your support for this rule.
Learn more about phthalates in Maine people inHormones Disrupted.
Read about the delivery of the petition signatures in thisBangor Daily News article.
Prior to becoming a superior court judge, Boggs was a member of the Georgia legislature. While in office he opposed women’s access to constitutionally protected safe and legal reproductive health services, including support of a so-called “personhood” amendment as well as legislation that asserted medically inaccurate information about abortion. He also has a bad record on civil rights – voting to keep the Confederate battle symbol on the state flag and voting to amend the Georgia constitution to ban same-sex marriage. You can read more about Judge Boggs on the NCJW website.
Our federal courts are too important to entrust to someone like Judge Boggs. We expect the Senate to decide on his nomination in June. We’ll be sending an Action Alert when we have more information. In the meantime, you can contact Senator Collins at 202-224-2523 and Senator King at 202-224-5344 to let them know that you don’t support the nomination of Judge Michael Boggs to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
But there were many great wins this session, too. We helped defeat an attempt to allow discrimination based on personal religious beliefs. More low-income Mainers have access to critical property tax relief and preventative dental care. We helped create new protections for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. We blocked efforts to use anecdotes and stereotypes to score political points at the expense of real Maine people living in poverty – the majority of whom are women and children.
We’ll be sharing our annual Legislative Roll-Call this summer. That’s where we’ll report on how our Senators and Representatives voted on our priorities during the 2014 Legislative Session. Stay tuned!
One way you can help is by sharing your story. What policies will help strengthen the economic security of your family? Have you ever been affected by any of the polices mentioned above? Call Danna at 207.622.0851 x21 or email email@example.com to share your story.
Together we’ll build pathways to prosperity for all Maine people.
Join us as we shine a spotlight on the power of Maine women – our voices, our actions, our leadership. And we’ll honor five inspiring women leaders:
Sponsorship and Advertising opportunities available. To volunteer, contact Kathy at 207.622.0851 x25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement by Eliza Townsend, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby:
We are relieved to see the Governor’s harmful TANF proposals defeated, but frustrated that the legislature wasted so much time in debating bills that were nothing more than an attempt to score political points on the backs of Maine people living in poverty – most of whom are women and children.
Instead of debating policy based on anecdotes and stereotypes, we call on our elected officials to focus on real solutions that create pathways out of poverty. Those solutions include jobs that pay, investing in Head Start and quality childcare for working parents, restoring property tax relief, increasing the state’s earned income tax credit, and perhaps most importantly, accepting federal funds to increase access to health care for nearly 70,000 Maine people.
It’s time for real leadership on the issues that matter to Maine women and their families. It’s time our elected officials stop scapegoating women who are struggling to support their families – and make no mistake, that’s what this debate was about. It’s time to do the hard work necessary to pass meaningful policies that improve both the lives of Maine people and our state’s economy.
The Maine Women’s Lobby advocates on behalf of Maine’s 678,000 women and girls; focusing on freedom from violence, freedom from discrimination, access to health care, and economic security.
To learn more about specific policy priorities, please direct inquiries to Eliza Townsend at 207.622.0851 x20, email@example.com; or Kathy Kilrain del Rio at 207.229.0068 x25, firstname.lastname@example.org.