By Abby Kaufmann, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Communications & Development Intern and senior at UNC Chapel Hill
When I accepted the position of Communication and Development Intern at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve known what the organization was for years because my mom was always very open about issues surrounding reproductive rights while I was growing up. From my understanding, they were a non-profit that dealt with things related to abortion. I had no idea that in addition to being a traditional non-profit, they not only have a foundation dedicated to research, education, and outreach but also work to influence policymakers to defend our state against anti-abortion attacks and promote policy that supports reproductive rights.
I knew that my internship would primarily deal with social media but was skeptical that there could be enough new information to share everyday. Boy was I wrong! Every day, I read and researched various articles relating to reproductive rights for our state affiliate to share. Plus, after realizing how important it was to stay up-to-date on social and political issues in this line of work, I subscribed to daily newsletters and frequently found my own articles to share. Working as an intern for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina encouraged me to stay informed on current events and allowed me to see ways in which certain topics intersect that I never would have even considered before. I realized how interconnected reproductive rights are with various social, political, and economic problems that exist in our world today.
When I first started, one of my supervisors explained that, since it wasn’t a major election year this year, there wouldn’t be as much attention paid to these issues. This may very well be the case but people need to realize that just because certain topics aren’t being discussed, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. And it certainly doesn’t mean they stop being problematic. Since I began my internship in August, all of the following has happened:
- Planned Parenthood “witch hunt” and the threatened government shutdown that resulted from it
- A North Carolina teacher who volunteered as a clinic escort was publicly shamed
- Hobby Lobby’s ruling in favor of religious exemption from reproductive health care coverage proved problematic for many women nationwide
- House Bill 318 which restricted food stamp eligibility for unemployed childless adults was signed into law
- The new 72-hour abortion waiting period mandated by House Bill 465 went into full effect
- The Supreme Court took on yet another case centered around reproductive rights (and their decision could seriously limit abortion access in many states)
- Anti-choice acts of violence, or rather, anti-choice acts of domestic terrorism escalated significantly (arson attacks nationwide, mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado)
Don’t get me wrong, there were also multiple positive things that happened. Unfortunately, any good they may have done for reproductive rights feels negated by the prevailing extremism of anti-abortion activists and politicians. We, as a society, need to do a better job of giving reproductive rights the consistent attention that it deserves and so desperately needs, especially if we ever want to see any real change.
If you would like to contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice NC’s blog, please contact our Advocacy & Organizing Manager at Sarah@ProChoiceNC.org.