Amy Hagstrom Miller and Amanda Williams at ChoiceWorks speak about their vision for their new nonprofit Shift, why they’ve chosen to launch in Texas, and what the end of abortion stigma might look like in red states.
Throughout these efforts, students say, labels like “pro-choice” and “pro-life” took a backseat to story-sharing—perhaps offering insight about ways that young activists, far from being apathetic or disinterested, are engaging their peers about issues of reproductive rights and justice.
Abortion care, a provably safe medical procedure that affects one in three women, is an unsuitable topic for millions of people worldwide, according to Google and Hulu, which recently rejected informational advertisements that discuss abortion.
A recent Daily Beast article claims abortion stories aren’t enough to change reproductive rights policy. But advocates never said abortion stories alone could bring about policy changes—and it’s shortsighted to believe as much.
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.