Archive for March 2013

Portman Women: Come Out!!

March 25, 2013

Conservative Senator Rob Portman (R,OH) just changed his mind about gay marriage because his son came out to him. So, the stand that he, and most right wingers, have taken against civil rights for lgbt individuals has become personal. 

So, let’s take this a step further. How many of the Portman family females have had an abortion? Or helped a friend when they unintentionally became pregnant? Gays and lesbians comprise less than 10% of the population, but 37% of all of reproductive aged women will have an abortion! Surely there are some disclosures that are possible at the next family gathering.

Many abortion rights activists advocate a “coming out” strategy for those who have had an abortion, just as the gay and lesbian movement did, designating October 11th (the anniversary of the first large march on washington) in 1988. That strategy has paid off handsomely, as more and more Americans personally know gays and lesbians and support their wanting to have their unions recognized by society. 70% of millenials in a recent Pew poll support same sex marriage.

Last year I attended a conference on Stigma which suggested that approaches that have worked to de-stigmatize homosexuality and HIV status might be used to lessen the stigma of abortion. There are some important differences though. Women who have had an abortion can usually hide it; it’s not generally part of their identity. Gay people continue to be gay, and HIV positive folks have a chronic condition.

But the idea is a good one. If you feel that someone would think less of you (which is the definition of stigma), then you are not going to be eager to tell those people. But if you were able to tell some folks, it would lessen your sense of stigma, isolation, and shame. And, importantly, it would change those that heard your story. The Rob Portman’s of the world need to hear from women close to them who have considered or chosen an abortion. If the Right hears from those women and men who have been part of an abortion experience, will they be so quick to pass every ridiculous law that’s a barrier to abortion access? If Rob Portman’s son’s coming out is an indication, the answer is “no!” So, Portman women, we know it can be hard to speak up, but we’re counting on you. It’s time for an abortion conversation in your–and every– family!



ACP Mini-Grant Deadline Extended to May 15th!

March 13, 2013

The Board of the Abortion Conversation Project is jump-starting many conversations about abortion by offering small support grants for projects that are in keeping with our mission. Grants can be used for materials, technology, and travel, but not salaries or compensation. We want to maximize the limited amount of money we have to give, so we will consider requests for new projects up to a maximum of $1000 so that we can assist more projects.


ACP’s mission is to challenge the polarization that characterizes current abortion conversation, lessen the stigmatization of abortion, and promote speaking and listening with empathy, dignity, and resilience about even the most difficult aspects of abortion.


We strongly encourage applicants to talk with us about projects before submission. Deadline is May 15, 2013. For more information, email Download grant application from home page at

One of the first projects ACP tackled was offering a tool to young people and their parents about how to have that difficult conversation starting with, “Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant…” Since then the handouts and website of the same name have been accessed many thousands of times and our material is still unique in addressing this dilemma. We would welcome proposals for mini-grants about this conversation, inviting parents and young people to talk about their experiences. ACP will supply the handouts.


Another area of interest is creating ritual around pregnancy loss, including abortion. And, with all projects, we are looking for interpersonal communication. If you are interested in these or other projects that help us learn how to have productive, culture-changing conversations about abortion, please contact us and apply for an ACP mini-grant!


Photo caption: Meg Roberts, new ACP board member and founder of Plants 4 Patients, a Fall 2012 Mini-Grant recipient.Image