Abortion Clinics, Activists Fear For The Future

In yesterday's Times, Anne Baker describes abortion counseling as her "dream job," but as her generation nears retirement, she worries that young women aren't interested in taking over the fight for choice.

The staff at abortion clinics earn less than other medical staff, and face greater risks. Sally Burgess, chairwoman of the National Abortion Foundation, says, "you work in abortion, it will affect who you will date, the parties you will be invited to." More frightening are the frequent protests and ever-present threat of terrorism. Former clinic director Tina Welsh recalls being the only person allowed to open her clinic's mail, because she was the only one insured against letter bombs.

Another recruitment problem for abortion clinics is the lack of enthusiasm among younger women. "Younger women have always had access to abortion care," says Burgess, so "they don't fully appreciate the battle that was fought to have it available to them. And more important, I don't think they know how precarious the option is at this point, even with Obama's election." While it's not quite true that all younger women have access to abortion, at least it's legal today. And it's in a strange position — common enough that some women might forget the need to fight for it, and stigmatized enough that plenty may not want to.

Where to Pass the Torch? [NYT]