London, Monday 23rd January, 2023
At MSI Reproductive Choices UK, we are shining a light on our dedicated staff who ensure everybody can access the reproductive healthcare they need.
We interviewed Stephanie Pérez – MSI UK’s Regional General Manager in Sussex – about being new to MSI UK, her experience of working in an abortion clinic, and the anti-choice activity she has witnessed throughout her first year in the role.
“Abortion care is an essential service, and we are supporting everybody to have a choice.”
Why did you start working for MSI?
I was looking for a change, as I had been working in health and social care for a long time. I wanted to reignite a passion that I felt I had lost, so when I saw the job post come up for MSI and researched the organisation, I loved the sound of it. The work that MSI does really resonated with me because I had an abortion when I was 19. It made me think about how we don’t talk about this service enough even though it is an essential healthcare service – a service I used when I needed it.
Can you tell me more about your role as Regional General Manager in Sussex?
My role is to make sure that our services are running safely and effectively. A large part of this is listening to client feedback to ensure that we are continually improving the way we deliver the service at the clinic. I also provide support and resources to my colleagues to help them perform their job effectively. For me, my role is about constantly reflecting and improving. There is always room to develop.
You’ve been here less than a year, how has it been settling in?
I have never worked somewhere so welcoming and it’s something MSI should be proud of. Everyone who works here shares one common goal and believes strongly in what we’re doing. It’s also nice to work with people from all different backgrounds with different experiences.
So far, I have been able to visit many other clinics which I absolutely love doing; it’s great to see how other clinics operate and be able to network with colleagues across the country (learn more about our clinics in England here: Our Clinics). We learn from each other, which ensures we do better within our roles.
What does a day in your life look like at MSI?
I start my day by getting the clinic set up and ready. When the team arrives, we have a daily huddle to check in and see how everyone is doing. Sometimes I’ll be helping clients on the day of their appointment. For example, if they’re struggling to get to the clinic, we will send them a taxi if needed. Every day is different though and you need to be able to adapt to whatever is thrown at you.
We know that some abortion clinics in England are targeted by anti-choice groups who gather outside clinics. Can you tell us about your experience of anti-choice activity in Sussex?
It’s sad and frustrating because we’re in 2023 and people are still interfering with something that has no impact on their life whatsoever. We’re talking about an individual’s body and their life. It’s a shame that people feel compelled to judge other people’s choices.
No-one has to justify their choice, it’s no-one else’s business.
What is the importance of having buffer zones around clinics?
I was delighted and relieved to hear that MPs voted for buffer zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales.* This will mean that everyone will be able to receive the essential healthcare that they need without fear of being judged.
No-one should be harassing anybody while they are trying to access healthcare. Going to an abortion clinic should be like any other healthcare appointment.
If it’s your body, it’s your choice.
*This legislation has now almost completed it’s passage through the House of Lords. On 30th January, an amendment to the Public Order Bill that would introduce buffer zones in England and Wales was passed in the House of Lords. We look forward to seeing MPs continue to support protecting abortion clinics when the Bill returns to the House of Commons next month.
Learn more about the importance of abortion clinic buffer zones here: Buffer Zones
What is your favourite part of the job?
I love that I get to interact with clients. Everyone experiences a range of emotions from sadness to relief, and we’re here to support them throughout their experience.
Why are you proud of the work that you do?
I had an abortion myself when I was 19 and did not tell anybody, including my family. Nearly one in three pregnancies end in an abortion worldwide and it makes you wonder why we don’t talk about it. Why is there so much stigma and shame? I really love MSI’s values and that we never waver from the message: ‘If it’s your body, it’s your choice’. I want to promote that message all the time. That’s why I am so happy and proud to work for MSI.
What do you want others to know about what it means to be an abortion provider?
Abortion care is an essential service, and we are supporting everybody to have a choice. It needs no more explanation. To think that in some places, people do not have this choice is scary. But here, we give people a choice and that’s all people need to know.
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:
- “I have never felt more like a midwife than I do in this role.” – Interview with Grace Louisa Ash, MSI UK Practice Development and Advocacy Midwife, about what being a midwife and an advocate for nurses and midwives across England means to her.
- Why making a difference is a real privilege – Interview with Ailish McEntee, MSI UK Named Midwife for Safeguarding Adults and Children, about safeguarding at MSI UK, and how we care for and support our clients.
- “Being a part of MSI and helping so many people access care feels amazing.” – Interview with Sarah Salkeld, Associate Clinical Director at MSI UK, about contraception services at MSI UK, and the importance of having the choice to access contraception.
- “We are here to help empower people to make the decision that is right for them.” – Interview with Ben Tallis, Client Care Coordinator at our National Call Centre in Bristol, about supporting the clients who get in touch with our call centre from all over England.
- “I’ve never felt more like a midwife than I do here.” – Interview with Giselle Barnes, Clinical Services Matron at our Bristol clinic, about what being a midwife in abortion care means to her.
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