Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This anti is taking the bait

Steph Herold at the Abortion Gang has a post entitled, "Toxic Work Environments in the Reproductive Health Rights and Justice World" in which she lists a number of problems in working for pro-choice organizations.
Every so often several friends and I debate the merits of "outing" certain organizations for their legendary (expletive). 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?
Maybe my friends and I are just bitter (former) employees. But we also believe that our movement can and should be better than this. Is this bait for antis? Everything is bait for antis.

Herold then goes on the list a myriad of issues she and others have seen as problematic while working for abortion providers and pro-choice organizations. While some of them could be typical of any work place, others point to a large amount of hypocrisy in leading pro-choice organizations. 
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......
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.

Herold has previously voiced her disappointment with leading pro-choice organizations who didn't hire her because of her outspoken views.
You can imagine my excitement when over the course of a few months, I landed interviews at many of the big pro-choice organizations here. I don't have to name them. You know who they are. I interviewed for jobs at these places that fit my experience, jobs at which I could've kicked ass. But each interview ended with some version of this: "I'm sorry, but you are too radical/too much of an activist to work for us." At one particular organization, a senior executive looked me in the eye and said, "If you work here, you have no voice on reproductive rights." Another organization wanted me to delete my twitter account. Some wanted me to stop blogging. Others said that because I have a published opinion on later abortion, I would be a liability. One wanted me to resign from all my volunteer pro-choice activism, namely being on the board of the New York Abortion Access Fund. These requests were not implied. They were said to me in no uncertain terms.
She was eventually hired by the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health and is now working at Columbia University.

Any guesses to who the supposed megalomaniac is? Cecile Richards, perhaps?

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