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FFRF hires intern for reproductive rights

Barbara Alvarez has been hired as FFRF’s first Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern.

The internship is paid for with the scholarship funds received in memory of Anne, FFRF’s principal founder who died in 2015. Anne was an early abortion rights activist who wrote the book Abortion Is a Blessing about the battle to legalize abortion in Wisconsin.

Barbara is helping to track reproductive rights threats at the state and federal level, with editorial response on abortion/religion intersection issues and working on analyses of bills and language for action alerts.

On this page is one of her columns for FFRF. You can find them all at

Barbara Alvarez, during a visit to Luxembourg.

Name: Barbara Alvarez

Where and when I was born: April 3, 1989, in Illinois.

Family: My husband, Nick, and our 13-year-old pooch, Amos.

Education: B.A. in history and Spanish from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Master of Science in library and information science from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, and current Ph.D. student at The Information School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My religious upbringing was: Roman Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 10 years and even wanted to be the first female priest. (I was promptly told that women could never be priests). In my 20s, I had periods of returning to the Catholic Church and dabbling in Lutheranism before becoming a freethinker.

How I came to work as an FFRF intern: In fall 2019, I entered and won second place in FFRF’s Brian Bolton essay contest for older adults for my essay on the bible and abortion legislation. Sadly, reproductive rights are under constant attack because of religious imposition. So, when an opportunity arose to intern with FFRF, I jumped at it! It is an absolute honor to continue the work that Anne Nicol Gaylor fought so hard for.

What I do here: I monitor reproductive health policy and track religious impositions from legislators. I also draft testimony letters to state governments, create fact sheets and brochures related to abortion and the bible, and write blog pieces about religious attacks on reproductive health.

What I like best about it: It is fascinating to see how policy is created and it is empowering to take action. I especially appreciate working alongside a team of smart and passionate individuals who unapologetically uphold secular values.

My interests are: Public libraries, information access, Latinx feminism, community activism and reproductive justice.

My heroes are: Alice Paul, Dolores Huerta, Sophie Scholl and Audre Lorde.

These three words sum me up: On the move.

Things I like: Audiobooks, meaningful conversations, new experiences and genuine people.

Things I smite: Willful ignorance, white saviorism, multilevel marketing schemes and bad writing.