I am leaving my current job, where I am immersed in Abortionland as we call it. I am pretty ecstatic about this change in my life. As we all share it is quite apparent that this work is draining, hardening and difficult.
I have been immersed in Abortionland for over 4 years. When I started working in the field I didn’t know I was passionate about abortion. Having just come out as gay I really didn’t think it had anything to do with me, but I knew I believed in a woman’s right to choose and I needed a part time gig, and so the saga begins. As I have become immersed in this work I have sifted through the many layers of choice, reproduction, and women’s empowerment and found my passion. This work is also empowering, fulfilling, and meaningful.
Abortion is a part of women’s survival, it’s a part of owning our bodies, lives, and decisions. Helping women obtain abortions is about giving accurate information and entrusting women to make good decisions with that information. When I talk to patients it is clear that lack of access to abortion is not where problems begin but rather one manifestation of larger societal problems. We live in a sex negative culture, from very early in our lives we learn that sex is shameful, dirty, and we should be secretive about it. We do not get clear and accurate information about our bodies or sex, and we lack language to talk about both. Lack of access to abortion and accurate information about abortion is one manifestation of a sex-negative culture.
Information about sex and health is essential to preventing unwanted pregnancies. Yet, when we can’t talk about sex and we are taught that abstinence is the answer then people don’t know how to take precautions against becoming pregnant. Also, it is a lot easier to ignore signs that one is pregnant if you don’t have a language to talk about your body. For me this work is about a larger picture, it’s much bigger than abortion. It’s about unlearning that sex is shameful, secretive and dirty. Sex is a part of life and people need information about how to take care of their selves and enjoy pleasure.
When I think about how I will remain true to my heart as an abortioneer, there is no question in my mind that this work will remain my passion with or without a job in a clinic or fund. I will bring my sisters to the clinic. I will use the counseling skills I have developed to help my sisters make major decisions. I will swipe my credit card or even request a credit line increase without thinking twice because I can, and I know I can help someone else pay for their abortion care. I will donate to a local fund. I will help a child, or anyone, learn how to talk about her body in a positive manner. I will help give people information about how to enjoy sex safely. I will remind a woman that she has the right to be in control of her own life.
After four years I feel really burned out and I’m thrilled make some major changes in my professional life. However, I am clear that my heart is still in this work and that won’t change.