There are few topics more taboo in American society than abortion — after all, it falls under both the politics and religion category of things not to bring up at the dinner table. But the 1 in 3 Campaign is aiming to shine a light on the suppressed reality of women's experience with abortion. The group is hosting an "abortion speakout" in Washington DC on Thursday, November 20, in which women talk about that oh-so-off-limits topic: their abortions.
"One in three women will experience an abortion in her lifetime, yet abortion continues to be stigmatized, women shamed and providers demonized," said Debra Hauser, president of the Advocates for Youth group that sponsors the 1 in 3 Campaign, in a press release. "We are telling our stories on November 20th and throughout the year to shatter the silence, break through the political rhetoric, and put women's real life experiences at the center of efforts to ensure abortion access for women and their families."
Because the truth of course is that abortion might be an uncomfortable topic — not to mention a difficult and emotional decision to be faced with — but that doesn't mean that women need to feel ashamed for their choices or hide their experiences. Like so many other things, women are implicitly told by society to keep silent about their abortions, to hide them. And indeed, for many women, the decision to have an abortion is something intensely personal that she might be more comfortable keeping private. But no woman should feel that she must stay silent, especially about something important to her.
Not to mention the fact that so much of the rhetoric around what abortion is or isn't is controlled by people who have never had one. Anti-choice people spread misinformation about both the physical and psychological effects of abortion, and generally seem completely divorced from reality about both abortion and women. Not to mention the fact that most of the lawmakers who supposedly have the right to regulate abortion are male. Yet the voices that are so rarely consulted, and are often shamed or shouted down when they do speak out, are the women who have actual, first hand experience with abortion. And those are the voices who should be shaping our understanding of what abortion is.
The 1 in 3 Campaign's abortion speak out will feature speakers including President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards, Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, Rep. Mike Quigley, and columnist Jessica Valenti, along with over 100 women from around the country sharing their experiences with abortion. Viewers can watch a live stream of the event here from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
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