Today (that's Jan. 19 if you're keeping track), beginning at 12 p.m. EST, 100 women will speak about their abortion experiences during the Advocates for Youth 1 in 3 Abortion Speakout livestream to an estimated 15,000 viewers. They are telling their stories on their terms. It's your job to listen. In the United States, one in three women will have an abortion before the age of 45 according to the Guttmacher Institute. It's not uncommon, and it's not rare; even so, though, the intense stigma that continues to plague the procedure has silenced generations of women. It's long past time to end that stigma and that silence.
Spearheaded by Advocates for Youth, an organization dedicated to preserving the rights of young people to honest and comprehensive sexual health education, the second annual 1 in 3 Speakout will feature a number of prominent women, from former Texas Senator Wendy Davis to Planned President superhero Cecile Richards, in addition to comedians, activists, artists, and women from essentially all walks of life. Because that's who, on average, gets an abortion: Pretty much anybody.
"Being able, even if only on video, to see everyone else share their stories and see the common threads between their stories was such a warm, amazing feeling," said Renee Bracey Sherman, the Policy Representative for the National Network of Abortion Funds, in an interview with the Daily Dot. "It made me feel less alone. It made me feel like part of a community." Ms. Sherman spoke last year during the event and will serve as a moderator today.
Jan. 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade; on March 2, opening remarks will be heard for Women's Whole Health v. Cole, a case which will potentially save some of the last abortion clinics in the state of Texas. The fight is far from over, but finding our voice is the next step.