Human Rights Policy and Nonprofit Organizational Development

Speaking out about abortion

In Policy Blog on April 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm

An article entitled We Already Have An Abortion Pride Movement, by friend and colleague Marcy Bloom, was published today on RHRealityCheck.org. Marcy writes powerfully about “the movement for the normalization of abortion.” She also points out that abortion is “an honorable and loving choice” that should be supported and respected.

In the article Marcy mentions Our Truths/Neustras Verdades, a publication edited by another friend and colleague, Emily Barcklow. I met Emily in Mexico City, where she works for Equidad de Genero, a grassroots organizing NGO that partners with my former employer on abortion rights issues. The magazine empowers women to publicly express their feelings about their abortions, creating a respectful space for discussion, and honoring women’s choices.

The article makes me think of an event I recently worked on with the Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project to commemorate the 1969 Redstockings Abortion Speak-Out. That historic event sparked speak-outs all over the country, and eventually led to Roe v. Wade.  For the commemoration I read an excerpt from a powerful testimonial given at the original event by a woman who had been forced to carry her unwanted pregnancy to term because she didn’t have the resources to seek out an illegal abortion.

The event was a powerful reminder of how integral women’s voices are to political action. The women who spoke out in 1969 were galvanized because a panel on abortion had been convened- and was made up of all men except for one female; a nun. Those brave women recognized that only they could tell their own stories, and their stories sparked a movement. Now it falls on the shoulders of our generation of activists to destigmatize abortion as a human right and a responsible choice, and as a basic health service that must be safe and easily accessible for all women.

As Marcy writes, “Society needs to know that safe abortion is a moral good for women, understand more fully why women make this choice, and provide support and respect for women’s moral and ethical decision-making.”

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