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Interview: Why making a difference is a real privilege

News from MSI UK  •  3 March 2023  • 8 min read

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At MSI Reproductive Choices UK, we love hearing from our colleagues about their passion for providing essential healthcare services, and ensuring that people across England can exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.

We interviewed Ailish McEntee, UK Named Midwife for Safeguarding Adults and Children, about what being an abortion provider means to her, and how she works to guarantee that the safety of our clients is our number one priority.

Why or how do you think “reproductive choices” contribute to equality?

Being able to give the women and men the opportunity to make those decisions will ultimately benefit the community on a wider level. Reproductive choice will start to create equality between men and women, and will eventually empower everyone – in five, 10, 20 years’ time, I think the difference will be huge.

How/Why did you start working for MSI UK?

I was a midwife in an NHS trust for three years, and I did my training before that. I didn’t feel like I could give the care that I wanted to in that job – it was quite difficult to focus on one particular area, and I always wanted to focus on safeguarding within reproductive, sexual and public health.

As a student midwife, you don’t really get access to training in abortion care – they have started doing it now which is great, because it’s a massive part of reproductive health – I just didn’t learn about it in my three years of training. It has been great to get this experience, and to broaden my knowledge of women’s health. I joined MSI to get that side of things that often isn’t taught in midwifery and that really needs to be to be.

What are you passionate about?

As a woman, as a mother, as someone who has access to abortion care and has had my experience, I just really want it to be seen as something that doesn’t need to be hidden or that people should feel ashamed about. I think that’s the main thing that I enjoy about this role – reassuring women that this is not something to be sorry about, not something to feel guilty about, not something to dwell on or anything like that – this is just a life event that happens in so many women’s reproductive life.

We also see and support women who have wanted pregnancies, but are having to have abortions because of fetal anomalies. This can have a massive impact on women and families that they can carry with them for a long time – our counsellors are trained to support in these circumstances too.

There’s such a stigma surrounding abortion, and such a horrible burden that so many women carry around when they feel like they can’t talk about it. I can see it from conversations that I’ve had with people in my parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Being able to talk about reproductive health really opens up the experiences that they’ve had and held on to, and how holding that in has affected them throughout their whole life. When you open up those conversations you can just see the weight that’s lifted off people, and I just think that’s brilliant.

The main thing that I wanted to focus on is just normalising abortion and seeing it as something that should be accessible, just like all other healthcare. People should be able to talk about it if they want to talk about it. Just giving women that chance and opportunity is what I feel really passionate about. 

What is the favourite part of the job?

Because I’m in the safeguarding side of things, it feels weird to say I really enjoy this part… but I do, I really enjoy it! I obviously don’t enjoy the things that I hear women and families are going through – that’s really difficult – but I just genuinely feel like if I am that person that someone opens up to – what a privilege. What a privilege to be able to be the first person that they have ever told that to, and I can help them get out of that situation, organise next steps for that person, and empower these women to be the decision-makers in their own lives.

I think that’s the part that I really enjoy – genuinely making a difference in someone’s day to day life and improving it – I think it’s a real privilege.

What do you want others to know about what it means to be an abortion provider?

I think it’s so important to make sure people know that abortion care is so much wider than that one treatment that’s happening at that one time. The work MSI does is not just about providing access to abortion procedures. It’s that, plus counselling, plus reproductive health, plus safeguarding, plus vasectomies, plus contraceptive counselling, plus signposting to other support areas… I want people to focus on the bigger picture rather than focusing on one thing that they might see as a negative. 

Thank you to our frontline colleagues for your bravery, your sacrifices and your unflagging compassion.

Read more from our colleagues

At MSI UK, we love interviewing our colleagues to find out more about their work and how their roles contribute to our mission to deliver quality reproductive healthcare. Below, you can read some of our latest interviews: 

Careers at MSI Reproductive Choices UK 

At MSI Reproductive Choices, we are looking for pro-choice and passionate professionals to join us in our mission.  

MSI Reproductive Choices employs over 500 people in the United Kingdom alone, all of whom are dedicated to delivering the highest quality abortion and vasectomy care. 

We know that our most valuable assets are the people that work for us. By joining MSI Reproductive Choices, you’ll become part of a committed team that work to make sure we provide the best possible care and support to our clients.

If you are interested in a career at MSI UK, find our current open positions here: Join Our Team


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