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|Hayley Matthews • 5/13/16|
The 411: My Abortion, My Life is a public awareness campaign seeking to eradicate abortion stigma and create a safe platform for both women and men to engage in respectful, honest conversation about this emotionally-charged matter.
Today in the U.S., one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. This third of the nation’s female population is a huge component of the abortion conversation, yet many feel scared to join the discussion.
That’s where MyAbortionMyLife.org steps up to the podium.
Striving to end the silence one story at a time, My Abortion, My Life is a public awareness campaign that creates a safe space for women and men, young and old, to talk about their experiences with abortion without social consequences.
We got a chance to speak with Nancy Pitts, Director of Development and Communications for My Abortion, My Life, to hear more about the impactful conversations they’re seeking to craft.
Before My Abortion, My Life came along, there were few outlets for women with abortion experiences to talk about their encounters openly and safely.
“We wanted our site to be an avenue for women to share their stories,” Pitts said, “It’s such a politically-charged topic that there aren’t always spaces to have these conversations.”
My Abortion, My Life works to build these safe spheres for respectful dialogue through public events, private house parties and advertising in their home community of Cleveland, Ohio.
One of the prominent distinguishing characteristics of My Abortion, My Life is that aside from providing women with a safe space to share their personal testimonies, they also provide the general public with an outlet for interesting and nuanced discussions about this polarizing debate.
“Even if no one is disclosing their personal experience with abortion, we really want to help engage all of us — women, men, young people, old people — in this conversation on abortion,” she said.
Pitts elaborated on the genesis of My Abortion, My Life, and how their fundamental objectives arose.
The campaign originated in response to the death of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion care provider who was murdered in 2009.
“That really shook the community of abortion providers,” Pitts said.
My Abortion, My Life has since decided to put an emphasis on shining a light on abortion stigma and the ugly effects that can transpire from shame and violence.
The campaign website provides informative literature, as well as related research developed in the social science field, so site visitors can better educate themselves before speaking up.
When the initiators of My Abortion, My Life began the campaign, the pro-choice movement had largely abdicated on public policy and legislative strategies.
“But we abdicated the cultural conversation on abortion to those who oppose it,” she said.
Pitts explained that she believes there’s been a shift, with growing numbers of pro-choice advocates taking part in the public dialogue surrounding abortion. She believes they must engage because they do have much to say about this topic.
Interested in joining the conversation?
Share your story, host a house party or film screening, become a campaign volunteer or just start talking — My Abortion, My Life offers several avenues for individuals with direct or indirect experiences with abortion to get in on the community dialogue.
Visit www.myabortionmylife.org for information on abortion stigma and resources for engaging in respectful discourse on an emotionally-heavy and politically-heated matter.