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.
“Youth” is just one of many identities we experience during our lives, and stigmatizing or shaming a person because of age fails any social movement fighting against oppression.
The Hobby Lobby case is not some odd outlier regarding “religious freedom.” It’s just one of the many ways the anti-choice movement is trying to chip away at women’s access to contraception and instill the idea in the public’s mind that contraception is controversial.
While forced parental involvement laws aren’t new, more states have been passing them or tightening their existing laws to decrease access to abortion for teens.
Culture change is distinct from policy change and health-care access, but it’s just as important. It’s difficult to imagine long-term policy gains without doing the hard work to change norms, beliefs, and behavior.
Because of an article I wrote about my abortion story,
people I’ve never met requested that I kill myself, get raped, die in childbirth, and be sterilized. But I also received love and support from friends and allies, and I’d love to see a whole movement emerge telling people who share their abortion stories: #YouAreLoved.
If we want Americans to understand and distance themselves from the moral emptiness of the “pro-life” movement, we will have to challenge the patriarchs on their home turf, in their position as moral guides.
Groups that believe preventing teenage pregnancy is achievable through expensive public service campaigns fail to realize that they would do much better to support teen parents and their families.
In the same week, Rand Paul praised his sister for having six kids but denounced a hypothetical woman on assistance who has only five. The contrast lays bare the hypocrisy and prejudice of the anti-choice movement, and shows how conservatives use children as weapons against women.
If I heard this story about anyone else, even then, I would have zero hesitation in applying the label “rape.” But at the time, and for a long time afterword, I was unable to view my own rape for what it actually was.