“I wouldn’t be happy just reading about these issues and not actively do anything,” Ann said with a shrug. Ann’s passion for reproductive justice evolved during her time as an English major at a women’s college where studying gave way to pursuing her interests online. Reading anti-choice commentators’ attacks on women’s health frustrated Ann. So, in her senior year of college, Ann decided to join a newly formed Choice USA group on campus. “That was when I started taking action,’ she said.
That year Ann worked with other student activists to paint a mural on campus. She also connected with a local clinic to facilitate volunteer opportunities for herself and her peers. The group’s other activities included staging a counter-protest at a clinic, escorting patients past clinic protestors, and tabling at area events to spread awareness about reproductive justice and provide basic sex education.
When Ann came home to Saint Paul she kept active in the community by volunteering as a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood. “I kind of liked the idea of being a bit of a visible counter-force to the protestors,” Ann said, “really being able to greet people who might be nervous and scared no matter what they’re coming in to do—whatever sort of appointment they have—just because they have to go through the protestors.”
Today Ann lives across the river in Minneapolis, balancing two part-time jobs and a freelance career in literary review. Yet she still makes time for Planned Parenthood. Every week Ann volunteers as an Administrative Assistant at Planned Parenthood’s Minneapolis Clinic on Lagoon Avenue. “I shouldn’t just sit on my computer and read about [women’s health issues] and maybe share them on Twitter,” she said. “Chances are good that doesn’t change anyone’s life or opinion or make a difference, really. And this actively makes a difference.”