by Grace O.
It is heartwarming to see the growing number of projects and web sites that are encouraging women to open up about their abortion experiences. If there is anything that will destigmatize abortion, it’s women standing up and saying “I had an abortion, and here is why.” Not by way of making explanations, (because we don’t think you owe anybody an explanation) but to illuminate that abortion is a common, normal, human experience made by moral, smart and kindhearted women from all walks of life, and for all kinds of reasons.
Sharing our stories may be the only way our culture as a whole can begin to understand that abortions, and the reasons women choose them, are as individual as the patient who have them.
The Abortion Conversation Project is aims to eliminate the stigma of abortion by providing opportunities to talk about abortion honestly and publicly. Abortion care providers and their patients are encouraged to share the complex issues involved in arriving at a moral abortion decision. This project promotes open conversations that don’t demonize those with differing views. Their goal is to create safe spaces for individuals to determine what is best for their own lives.
The Abortion Diaries is a documentary by Penny Lane, “Featuring 12 women who speak candidly about their experiences with abortion. The women are doctors, subway workers, artists, activists, military personnel, teachers and students; they are Black, Latina, Jewish and White; they are mothers or child-free; they range in age from 19 to 54. Their stories weave together with the filmmaker’s diary entries to present a compelling, moving and at times surprisingly funny “dinner party’ where the audience is invited to hear what women say behind closed doors about motherhood, medical technology, sex, spirituality, love, work and their own bodies.”
Exhale ProVoice is a movement that provides and promotes emotional support for women who have had abortions. In addition to a strong online presence, Exhale’s supports a post-abortion talkline, abortion E-cards, private support groups and an “ethical storysharing” initiative.
I’m Not Sorry boldly addresses the assumption that we “should” feel guilty about abortion. “It was created for the purpose of showing women that exercising their legal right to terminate their pregnancy is not the blood-spattered guilt trip so many make it out to be …. you are not a baby killer. You are not irresponsible. You are not selfish. And, above all, you are not evil..”
45 Million Voices is “dedicated to eliminating the stigma, shame, and silence surrounding abortion through education, empowerment, and sisterhood.” Based on the belief that abortion is a normal choice women make,they invite women to share their abortion stories on their web site. These stories are unedited, and posted exactly as submitted. They provide “a safe space” for women’s voices, where stigma is eradicated and silence is broken in an environment of love and support.
And last but not least, Ending a Wanted Pregnancy has been encouraging parents to share their stories of terminations for medical reasons since 1996. Our stories are sorted by diagnosis, and are also tagged by type of termination procedure and other special circumstances, such as termination after 24 weeks. In addition to the stories we share by permission on our public web site, our private discussion group members also share their stories in a safe, nonjudgmental environment of consisting entirely of other parents who’ve made similar choices.
We welcome all stories of termination for medical reasons, whether for health issues with the fetus or the mother. If you’d like your story shared on our web site, simply paste it as text (no attachments, please) to info.endingawantedpregnancy (at) gmail.com.
photo credit: InspirationDC via photopin cc