Catherine, 22

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Why I chose to take an Internship with an Abortion Provider.

From a young age, I was aware of the importance of access to safe and legal abortions. I struggled with understanding why some people were against women having control over their own bodies. Once I became aware that the majority of anti-abortion arguments came from a place of religiosity, I realized that it was very difficult to reason with someone who used their religion as a justification to regulate the actions of other people. Although both my parents are liberal in their views, I grew up listening to more conservative family members bashing a woman’s right to choose. I could tell it made people uncomfortable when I chimed in on a conversation about a woman’s right to choose, particularly when it was coming from a 15-year-old. Growing up, I saw anti-abortion protests with disturbing images. I knew that at some point I had to do something.

When I started at Oakland University, I joined a sorority and was going through the motions of being an undergraduate student. I was a psychology major who wanted to act against injustices; however, my major did not provide me with the passion I was searching for in my quest to improve women’s lives and dismantle the patriarchal structure I was raised in.

In my first year at Oakland there was an anti-abortion protest, I was taken aback by what a thought was a welcoming campus. Thankfully, there was a counter-protest taking place as well. This further solidified my awareness of the need for advocates for choice.

As I was vocal with my feminist views, many of my friends urged me to take a Women and Gender studies class. So I did. I fell in love with it and soon added it as a second major. This major has allowed me to further research TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws in other places of the United States, such as the restrictive laws in Texas.

In an introductory class, the founder of Northland Family Planning, Renee Chelian, came to speak to the class during our discussion of reproductive justice. She spoke about the difficulty of adhering to TRAP laws in Michigan and how it was even worse in other states. I knew from the moment she spoke about the struggle that I could not count on someone else to take all the action. As a graduation requirement, Women and Gender studies majors participate in an internship of your choosing. During my senior year when I was looking over the list of places to intern, Northland Family Planning stood out. I wanted to intern somewhere that was actively making a difference in women’s lives.

This work is crucial in securing women’s right to their decision making. Without people to do the work that is being done here, it is likely that anti-choice groups would try to pass even more restrictive legislature, limiting access even more. With the current political climate fueling anti-abortion groups it is so important to get involved any way we can.

This semester I will be interning with an abortion provider, immersed in an organization that is taking a stand against anti-abortion rhetoric.