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.
Contrary to a narrative that young people are apathetic or lazy or too busy texting to care about human rights, in fact young people are at the helm of the movement for justice for all people. I, for one, can’t wait to see what they pull off in 2015.
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.
On Thursday, November 20, the first ever live-streamed abortion speak-out will feature a diverse group of 100 women who will discuss their personal experiences with abortion and abortion care.
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.
RH Reality Check recently spoke with Beth Matusoff Merfish, co-founder (with her sister, Brett, and mother, Sherry) of Not Alone about how her organization combats abortion stigma through storytelling. As Merfish explains, these stories have the potential to “open people’s minds” and hearts.
Despite the work I do, I’ve been contributing to abortion stigma by not always speaking plainly about the work that I do. I’ve been afraid of starting arguments, of offending friends and family members, of ostracizing myself as the abortion lady. A few months ago, I decided to change that.