Personal Stories Help Fight Stigma against Later Abortion

The essays included in “Why I Am Prochoice” explained how people came to their prochoice positions, and I couldn’t help but identify personally with different aspects of the essays. As varied as those voices and experiences are, so too are the voices and experiences of women who choose abortion later in pregnancy.

As the editor of Our Heartbreaking Choices: Forty-Six Women Share Their Stories of Interrupting a Much-Wanted Pregnancy, and the moderator for over 10 years of an online support board for women who terminate pregnancies for medical reasons, I have spoken with countless women who chose to have a later abortion. Although some instinctively turn inward and isolate themselves following such a traumatic loss, others find great comfort in being able to openly share their story and realize that they are not alone. Having a safe, judgment-free place for families to share their most personal and private thoughts and feelings, no matter how controversial or misunderstood by society, can be cathartic.

In addition to aiding in emotional healing, sharing stories is an effective way to fight back against attacks on reproductive freedom. In response to the recent spate of legislative attacks on -abortion at set gestational points, I recently created the “1 in 10” blog (1in10blog.wordpress.com) where women can share their post-12-week abortion stories. The hope is that using our own voices to share our experiences will open people’s eyes to the realities of later abortion. Many of the contributors to the blog have also shared their stories in person with their local, state and federal legislators in the belief that there is no more powerful tool to chip away at the stigma often associated with abortion. Thank you for sharing so many fascinating narratives in your latest issue.

CHRISTIE BROOKS
Stafford County, Va.

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