The stories of women who participated in focus groups led by SisterSong, included in a new report, convey the gross under-education and discriminatory treatment of Black women living in the South, in particular, where sexual and reproductive health education is nonexistent and stigma is rampant.
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.
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.
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.
The stigma put on addiction and addicts has been very painful for me. For much of my life, I have felt like society judged women like me, throwing us away as if our lives didn’t hold any value. Despite our struggles, we eat, breathe, and bleed like everybody else. We are human.
Deliberate workplace discrimination based on a worker’s HIV-positive status is a pervasive issue for the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States.
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.
Shame is a powerful cultural and political tool that has been used to keep people from accessing the resources they need. Shame has kept my name anonymous in this article, but it will not stop me from accessing health care, telling this story, or encouraging others to do the same.