I have had two abortions, both when I was married. My decision to terminate for medical reasons was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. It is my personal story, my anguish, my grief. I am tired of politicians using it to try to outlaw others’ abortions.
As more people share their abortion stories this year, let’s ensure the policy agenda advocates are pushing for addresses the full spectrum of needs laid bare in these stories.
Certainly, sharing abortion stories can be a powerful act and may reduce self-stigma. But I fear that it distracts from the structural inequalities of race, poverty, age, and education by placing too much emphasis on the individual. And I worry that it lets our politicians and policymakers off the hook.
Nicki Minaj told a nuanced story about her high school abortion, but most of the headlines suggested that she is, or should be, ashamed of the experience. Sadly, this is what happens all too often when women try to tell complex abortion stories in the public sphere.
This week, we released Saying Abortion Aloud, a report and set of recommendations for those sharing their personal abortion stories publicly and the advocates who support them.
Thursday’s live-streamed “one in three” speak-out made me realize that even as a staunch reproductive rights advocate, a clinic escort, and a feminist, I still have to battle my own internalized abortion stigma.
Recent efforts by reproductive justice organizations in Cleveland, including New Voices Cleveland, show that women will not stand idly by and watch their rights be taken away or have others—be it mainstream media outlets, anti-choice organizations, or anti-woman politicians—dictate their health and safety needs through racist billboard campaigns.
Thanks to stigma, a new study shows, people who have had abortions often hesitate to tell more than one or two trusted family members, partners, or friends about the experience. This, in turn, can lead to individual isolation and restrictive government policies.
Supporters of the clinic have wanted to fight back for a long time, but were waiting for a window of opportunity to take a stand.
Despite its ubiquity in our culture, abortion stigma has garnered relatively little scholarly attention. Now, after two years of effort, there’s a new issue of the academic journal Women and Health that focuses entirely on the subject.