Last month Vegan Vagina wrote a post about leaving the day-to-day abortion field, and it made me think about myself. Recently I've been considering leaving direct service to pursue graduate school. While I'm excited about the possibility of grad school and the doors it could open up, I'm sad at the thought of not doing this work. It would be strange to go from working regularly in direct abortion service to possibly not doing it at all. I sort of feel like I am abandoning the work and the people to "move up".
Since working in the field of abortion, I have come to understand the issue in a way I never would have if I didn't have this experience. I've learned about how important it is for people to have the right to choose and how difficult it is to access abortion. I've watched women try to get past the many barriers put in their way - parental involvement laws, cost, waiting periods, ultrasound laws, etc, etc. I've heard some of the most amazing and sad stories, spoken to women and girls who were steadfast in their decision and refused to give up, and worked with some of the most amazing and committed people I have ever known.
While leaving the direct service field would be difficult, going to grad school would help me move further career-wise and could help me gain skills that I could then use to help further the pro-choice cause. I wonder how many people doing policy and research work in the field have first hand knowledge. How many of them have worked in clinics, as clinic escorts, have volunteered for an abortion fund? Maybe more of us in the field should think about this. Not that I want to encourage everyone to leave the clinics, but I think many of us need to leave at some point. Andy why not channel our experience into something that can help educate those those that have no direct service experience and help make better policies, better programs, and to help strike down bad laws?
What do you all think? Have you been in/are you in the same position?