When I started my internship at Northland Family Planning, I was not familiar with the many components of abortion care, and I had little understanding of what providers faced on a day-to-day basis. During my first week interning, I was entering through the clinic doors while a protestor shouted, “Don’t do this, mom. Come talk to us, we can help you! Don’t kill your baby!” This action was shocking. I can only imagine what this harassment must feel like for those seeking our services. Protestors operate under the assumption that pregnant people frivolously make the decision to have an abortion; however, from my internship I know the opposite to be true. Pregnant people need abortions for a variety of reasons and none of these reasons make the decision simple. Within the first month of my internship, Northland Family Planning’s Sterling Heights office was invaded by an anti-choice group. The brazen action of these five individuals and their disregard for city ordinances and law enforcement was stunning. This incident (and threats of more to come in the future) further solidified my awareness of the need for increased activism and awareness of these issues within pro-choice communities.
It is often assumed that since the Roe v. Wade decision, abortion is legal and easily accessible for all. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Anti-choice groups have spent the past 40 years slowly chipping away at the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. Today, many pregnant people must travel across state lines to access abortion care. This is expensive and can require childcare, hotel fees and travel expensive. Waiting periods create another obstacle, like the 24-hour waiting period in Michigan, because it can elongate that process and make it even more difficult for women to seek and afford abortion care. My experience at Northland Family Planning brought to the forefront the truth that most people are not aware of these difficulties faced by individuals seeking abortion care. The ever-present shame and stigma surrounding abortion prevents most individuals from sharing their story and coming forward; therefore, most people do not know the hoops women are required to jump through until they or someone they love seeks an abortion.
My internship taught me there is a need for active participation in the pro-choice fight. Our legislators are continuously targeting the right to safe, legal, and accessible abortions and we must stay involved to combat these attacks. If access to abortion is important to you, now is the time to speak up! Call you Representatives and tell them to stop these attacks on reproductive health care. We need to be aware of the legislation and actions of anti-choice groups in order to combat restrictive legislation that is constantly up for vote.
Reclaim will keep you up-to-date on this fight! If you would like to be added to Reclaim’s email list and be informed of events and activism opportunities click here! If you are interested in donating your time to become a clinic escort, click here!