2019 Vision Award to Shout Your Abortion — Abortion Conversation Projects

Below is a blog post by Shout Your Abortion and coincidentally ACP selected SYA as the recipient of the Vision Award at the Abortion Care Network Conference on March 4th.

In our award speech, we recited Muriel Rukeyser’s great quote:

“What happens if a woman tells the truth about her life?

The world is divided.”

Presented by Brooke Bailey and Peg Johnston, we continue: In 2015, that’s what happened when Amelia Bonow posted on social media that she had an abortion. Using the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion, Amelia and Lindy West unleashed a viral outpouring of storytelling. They were not the first to “come out” about abortion but they cast the stigma of abortion at a pivotal moment in history, and our world made open. They followed up that viral moment with a savvy organization that continues to make room for people to stand up and shed that stigma. Shout Your Abortion makes stigma busting look cool and fun but we all know the courage it takes to withstand stigmatizers’ backlash. Undaunted, they continue to try a dizzying array of techniques.

By Erin Jorgensen, SYA Communications Director

Shout Your Abortion recently partnered with Abortion Conversation Projects to help distribute the new Shout Out Your Abortion book abortion clinics across the USA. I’ve been trying to write an objective blog post about the experience, but I keep failing because everyone keeps coming back to my personal abortion experience…

Before I worked in abortion activism with Shout Your Abortion, I was (and still am!) a person who had multiple abortions. I remember the doctor’s appointments, the packed waiting rooms with none of us looking at each other’s faces. The strange silence in a room full of people, the reading material consisting of health pamphlets and old monthly magazines. In my experience none of us talked to each other about what we were going to do there. Not beforehand in the waiting room as the hours dragged on, not afterwards when we got juice and crackers, not even with the doctors and nurses themselves. No one ever said the word “abortion” out loud. It was amazing to realize that my abortion experiences were so isolated, even though I was surrounded by people, we were all doing the same thing.

There was nothing like SYA’s book back then. I can’t imagine how comforting it is to pick up a book full of art, life, and people talking about their abortions on their own terms. I had no idea that so many other people had abortions, for so many different reasons. I had no idea that it was okay to speak openly and freely about abortion, that it was okay to take control of your own life, that I wasn’t a bad person or even someone in the minority. I feel like a book like this will save me from years of shame and silence, from contributing to the abortion stigma myself out of fear.

The Shout Your Abortion book is a first of its kind – a beautiful coffee table book filled with abortion art, stories, and resources. There are personal stories of abortion, told in the narrator’s own words, accompanied by professional photos; abortion art, abortion activism; abortion fashion (yes, it’s real, and it’s cool) and much more. The book is an incredibly powerful testament to the strength of all of us who choose to have an abortion for any reason and to the incredible power of owning and sharing our own stories.

The book itself is a beautiful true work of art and we are proud of everyone whose works and words are reflected in it. We are very grateful to the people who offered their honest, incredibly diverse life stories in a public way. With the help of Abortion Conversation Projects, we’ve gotten this book into abortion clinics across the USA! We hope this book provides a sense of community, connection, and empowerment to people waiting to get their abortions. We hope they see themselves in some way and realize they are NOT alone. We hope they will take advantage of the many resources provided and perhaps be inspired to share their own abortion stories, in any way that feels authentic and safe. This way we can dismantle the stigma of abortion one at a time.

Thanks ACP for helping make this happen!

Shout Out Your Abortion is a decentralized network of individuals who talk about abortion on our own terms and encourage others to do the same. Following attempts by the US Congress to defund Planned Parenthood in 2015, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion became a viral conduit for abortion storytelling, receiving extensive media coverage and positioning real human experiences at the center of America’s abortion debate for the first time. SYA quickly grew into a grassroots movement, inspiring countless individuals to share their abortion stories through art, media, and community events across the country. Learn more and submit your own abortion story to shoutyourabortion.com.

Are you an abortion clinic that received the book or would you like to?

The ACP grant has given us the opportunity to send about 40 books, but so far we have received 105 requests which we have fulfilled along with other sources of income. These clinics have been on the books for several months and we are excited to hear how this project is impacting their clients. If you have a Shout Your Abortion book in your waiting or recovery room, it would be great if you could drop us a quick line to let us know any feedback! If you are a clinic that missed this first opportunity, please let us know about your interest here. We will be raising funds to send more books to clinics this spring!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button