Analysis

Pro-abortion activist complains about conditions inside movement

A pro-choice advocate acts out during debates over HB2 legislation in Texas.

Sometimes going through the archives of pro-choice blogs can reveal interesting things about the abortion industry and the pro-abortion movement.

I don’t mean the fact that pro-choicers advocate the tearing apart of unborn babies, or that abortion clinics are often poorly run and dangerous to women – we already know that. But sometimes you catch pro-choice activists and clinic workers talking to one another honestly about the problems in the abortion industry. And that can be very enlightening.

In a 2012 post, a pro-abortion activist over at Abortion Gang complains about problems within the pro-choice movement (apologies for language):

A co-worker once told me that in her 10+ years of working in the reproductive health field, her peers in other movements validated time and again that our movement is the most f**kd up …because of the way we treat each other, and the way our intra-movement politics operate.

Every so often several friends and I debate the merits of “outing” certain organizations for their legendary bull***t. Everyone knows that organization A has an executive director who’s a megalomanic. Everyone knows that two particular organizations bully other smaller organizations. Everyone knows that organization B likes to fire (almost) everyone every couple of years. Everyone knows that certain national organizations have less than cordial relationships with their local affiliates. Is there merit in pinning a name to these claims? What would happen to the person who decided to to do so? Would she be ex-communicated from the movement? Lose the ability to work or volunteer in the movement ever again?

It’s clear that even though the pro-abortion movement tries to present a unified front, there is  great deal of conflict going on behind closed doors.  Some conflicts can be expected in any movement, but this pro-choicer seems to think the pro-abortion movement, in particular, displays serious internal conflicts.

I won’t speculate as to which organization fits into which category.

The blogger then goes on to describe some common problems about working for pro-choice groups:

You’re afraid to confront your co-worker/your boss about something racist/classist/transphobic/etc she said for fear of losing your job.

You don’t get insurance coverage. The insurance coverage you get doesn’t cover pre-natal care, contraception, or abortion. You don’t get decent maternity or paternity leave. Yet these are all values your organization supposedly champions.

There is frequent turn over and burn-out because of low pay and high stress…

Your volunteers, interns, or anyone with “assistant” in their title are treated as a commodity.

Young people, people of color, and/or queer folks are not valued, are not expected to be leaders, and are tokenized…

Your organization primarily works with or on behalf of low-income communities, communities of color, and/or young people, yet those folks are not represented on the staff or on the board. And there are no conversations about class, race, or privilege among staff. Ever.

You see young people being encouraged to take on responsibilities for which they are not being paid, for the good of the organization and therefore the movement.

You find yourself having to mask your work conditions, including poor communication, bad management, and unclear organizational goals, while selling your organization to donors and supporters..

Your organization only cares about marginalized people in a marginalized place (hello, low-income Texan women!) when your org stands to make a buck off of promoting their rough situation.

Racism, exploitation, and taking advantage of young people. According to this blogger, those are common problems when working for pro-choice organizations.

No one can deny that the pro-life movement also has occasional infighting, or that working conditions are not always ideal, but it doesn’t seem to rise to the level of what this blogger is describing. The systematic exploitation she describes is not surprising when you consider the pro-choice movement’s goal – promoting the killing of preborn children in order to make their mother’s lives easier. It stands to reason that an organization that would exploit and sacrifice human lives when they are in the womb would exploit human lives outside of the womb. That the pro-choice movement, considered by many to be “tolerant” and “progressive” would allow racism in its ranks is also illuminating.

The fact that this blogger says that pro-choice groups only care about “marginalized” people like the poor and needy when they can use them for fundraising shows a basic lack of decency and caring on the part of the organizations.

Whatever flaws the pro-life movement may have, ultimately the pro-life movement is an altruistic one. Pro-life men and women in general do not benefit materially from an end to abortion. Activists in the pro-life movement don’t make money directly off legalized abortion, nor does it better there personal lives or advance their material goals to see it banned.

In contrast, pro-abortion activists often benefit directly from abortion – either financially, as clinic workers, or because it allows them to have consequence free sex and not worry about changing their lives because of the preborn children they may conceive. This allows for self-interest to pollute the pro-choice movement as it becomes a motive for pro-choice activism, rather than the desire to help people. This does not mean, of course, that all pro-choice activists are motivated by selfishness – many of them genuinely care about the women they believe they are helping. But it does encourage those with less-than-altruistic motives to become involved in the pro-abortion movement in order to advance their own self-interest. This may be what leads to the problems common in the pro-choice movement that this blogger describes.

READ NEXT
Comments4
To Top