Abortion law in Thailand is very ambiguous, and as a result, I do most of my work helping women access safe abortion care out of the public eye. At a recent workshop, I responded to public requests for information on safe abortion by first confronting my own fears.
Abortion stigma is a form of gender discrimination and punishment, and it represents social control of both women who need abortions and providers who provide them.
This year marks the 15th Anniversary of V-day and the 40th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade. So I thought it would be appropriate to draw a connection between the silenced stories of the 1 in 3 women worldwide who have experienced physical and sexual violence and the silenced stories of 1 in 3 women in the United States who will have an abortion in their lifetime.
People should be given the chance to make the decision whether to parent without judgment or stigma. Abortion is (or should be) an option. Women should not feel ashamed for doing what is best for them.
There are reproductive rights and justice advocates who are having abortion conversations that do not involve scare tactics. They are having these conversations on their campuses, in their homes, and in their communities, and they are doing it the right way.
If we can’t even talk about abortion, we can’t ever hope to change the stigma.
By sharing their stories, young people are creating spaces where we as a society can think about issues in terms of people’s realities and not political debates. Stories dispel myths, break down stereotypes, humanize issues, and invoke empathy and urgency, inspiring people who heard them to take action.
Many highly trained physicians provide abortion care, so why do abortion providers continue to be stereotyped as substandard doctors?
Remember, you are only allowed to speak out about your abortion if you say you regret it.
Worldwide, roughly 43 million women have an abortion each year. Yet these same women face stigma, a form of social control used to dehumanize, devalue, and isolate them. Providers are grappling with effective ways to reduce abortion stigma.