The Power Of and Problem With Sharing Stories About Abortion
Should women raise awareness by talking about their choices?
Since the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, there has been an outpouring of women sharing their abortion stories.
I’m a frequent flyer on LinkedIn and have seen heartfelt, vulnerable, gut-wrenching, and decisive stories. Women give context: they say, “This was the situation, and this was the choice I made.” The common thread between these stories is that these women had options. Whether they were raped, faced medical complications, or simply weren’t ready, they ended their stories with, “I had a choice in what happens to my life and my body.”
A few days after the Dobbs ruling was handed down, Planned Parenthood sent me a text message:
One of the biggest ways we show up and stand out is by sharing our story.
And I get it — advocates for bodily autonomy and the right to choose are trying to destigmatize abortion. Many women don’t share stories because they fear backlash.
I’ve made reproductive choices in my life that I haven’t openly shared, including with my own family. I feared judgment. People that I trust? They know my story. I knew that I would be safe and those people would support me, unconditionally.
I’ve wrestled over the past few weeks with how much I wanted to share. I want to do my part and come forward, standing with other courageous women. There’s an argument to be made that by sharing stories, we can open the minds of people who may see the issue as black and white. We may move the needle, if you will.
The reason I don’t share? Because in the end, my reason doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I have a choice.
It’s a Catch-22: the power of and problem with increasing abortion awareness through stories. Women share devastating moments in their personal histories and the overwhelming response is, “Well, that was ok.” Or they choose to disclose to their friends and family and the response is, “Well, we’ll always support you.”
It still puts limits around what is acceptable — sharing the vibes of Joyce Arthur’s…