Archive for the ‘dialogue’ category

Reaching out to New Audiences: The Dating Game

April 5, 2015

ACP President, Terry Sallas Merritt, recently did an interview with datingadvice.com, a decidedly new audience for the Abortion Conversation Project. Usually, and unfortunately, pro-choice activists are guilty of “talking to ourselves.” A dating site attracts ordinary people, perhaps people who have never really considered the topic of abortion. And yet, these are  folks that may face an unintended pregnancy or who have already had an abortion experience. Remember, 37% of all women will have an abortion before the age of 45. So, introducing the topic on a general interest site is precisely where we need to be.

According to Sallas Merritt, it’s all about taking small steps that stop perpetuating silence and encourage listening and understanding.

“When the conversation comes up and you hear that stigma language, you don’t want to let it hang in the air. You can say ‘For me, I would not assume I could make this important decision for anyone else but myself,’” she said. “This is what being pro-choice is all about, respecting the moral authority and capability of people to make these decisions. I think even if you are not comfortable sharing your story, you can be comfortable sharing the universal idea of respect and dignity.”

Hayley Matthews, the editor in chief of Dating Advice, is responsible for creating diverse and controversial content for the site. Even if you don’t need a date, check out her content.

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Have you told the story of your abortion?

July 31, 2014

More and more women (and men) are telling their stories. Until recently, those stories were not very accessible but now these stories having the potential to change the stigma of abortion in our culture.

Our grantee, Emily Letts, whose video of her abortion has gone viral, is working with not alone, a site for video storytelling.

Because public sharing of your abortion story can bring positive reactions as well as negative, Renee Bracey Sherman has set up a survey to find out the impact on those who choose to share. If you have experience in telling your story, please help with this survey. More about the Sea Change sponsored survey:

As you may know, I have been sharing my abortion story publicly for several years. This experience has brought great joy, a feeling of empowerment, and connection to other people who have had abortions across the country – especially other storytellers. While this has been wonderful, it also brings harassment, both online and off, threats of violence, and thus has highlighted the missing pieces of support for abortion storytellers in our movement.

To ensure that storytellers are truly supported, I am conducting a survey and interviews with public abortion storytellers to look at what support systems have been working for them, and what we as a movement could do better to ensure their needs are met.

To that end, I am asking you to complete this survey, if you’re a public abortion storyteller, and forward it to any and all people who previously and currently share their abortion story in public forums including: journalism, media, video, workshops and panels, nonprofit advocacy campaigns, lobby visits, and interviews. I want to hear about all the best (and worst) practices so we can crowdsource a list of recommendations on how to best support our public abortion storytellers emotionally, mentally, and physically.

The survey can be found on The Sea Change Program’s website at: seachangeprogram.org/abortion-storyteller-experience-survey/

And, you might want to read the guides on Exhale’s site.

Just Start those Abortion Conversations

July 17, 2014

Andrea Grimes, an activist journalist in Texas, was already a hero in our world because she has covered the real story of the legislative assault on women and clinics and the consequences for women.

But now she has gone a step further. She has decided to “come out” or stop avoiding conversations about abortion. She had not wanted to talk to her mother about her work, but when she pushed herself to broach the subject she was delightfully surprised. “I had no idea what she would say, how she would react. I was 30 years old, and I had never really had a conversation with my mom about abortion before….It was just incredible. A conversation I’d been dreading for a decade brought me closer than ever to the most important woman in my life.”

She concludes with, “Which is why those of us who can afford to take the risk must do so—we must talk openly, loudly, and enthusiastically, not just about abortion but about the full spectrum of reproductive health-care decisions that we should all be empowered to make.”

It’s well worth the whole read on RH Reality Check.

And thanks for these stories that RH Reality is so good at publishing.

Salutations

June 10, 2013

Hello, All!

My name is Meg Roberts. I’m a potter, a reproductive justice advocate and I run a nonprofit based in Fargo, ND. I’m one of the most recent additions to the ACP board as well as a past grantee. As a part of the mini-grant review committee, it has been an absolute pleasure to read all of the amazing proposed projects this round.

For my contribution to the ACP blog I’d like to share a bit of my perspective, having been a past grantee, and to encourage other young women to utilize this grant opportunity to lend momentum to new ideas.

Last fall my organization, Plants for Patients (P4P), was awarded a mini grant that allowed us to take our show on the road and work in several communities in Montana.  At its most basic, P4P is about changing our cultural dialogue around abortion at a grassroots level through the gift of a handmade ceramic planter, and a note of support offered to patients after an abortion.

While in Montana, I worked with three communities (Red Lodge, Billings and Livingston), testing the application and adaptability of our program. This was made possible by a visiting artist residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center, where I worked to make planters and where we organized a community planting/note-writing event. Those planters and notes were then disseminated to post-abortion patients at independent abortion provider, Mountain Country Women’s Clinic, in Livingston and at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Billings.

One of the inadvertent lessons learned because of the project: blogging is hard. I have the utmost respect for people who are dedicated to blogging as a lifestyle or career. I blogged throughout my time in Montana to be able to communicate the experience with supporters and the ACP board as well as to document and highlight the notable differences working with new communities. (more…)

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!

 

Abortion Conversation Project Awards Grants

October 2, 2012

The Abortion Conversation Project announced six successful grants totally $5,750 in its first round of mini-grants in keeping with its mission “to challenge the polarization that characterizes 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.”

Grantees include an innovative project called Plants for Patients submitted by Meg Roberts, an artist and potter, who started by creating hand thrown pots with houseplants and offering them to abortion patients. The exchange was transformative for all and Roberts wishes to extend it to other sites. Unite Women received funds to create videos that encourage women to claim their goodness. UniteWomen.org is a new organization that has been extraordinarily successful at social media organizing. The Arizona branch of the Abortion Access Project will be using their funds to reach out to faith communities and facilitate conversations with activists.

The Concord Feminist Health Center will stage a community production of The Abortion Dialogues with a panel discussion after the performance. The Georgia Reproductive Justice Action Network (GRJAN) received funds to for a Transformative Connections Outreach and volunteer training for their advocacy and funding project for women seeking abortions in NE Georgia. Inspire is a new online support group for women who have had an abortion and need a place to discuss their experiences. They will use the ACP funds to make clinics and other organizations aware of the resource.

The Abortion Conversation Project was founded in 2000 and spent its early years defining post abortion emotional health, de-stigmatizing abortion through handouts for parents, partners, and patients themselves, and staging community conversations to have deeper conversations among diverse prochoice audiences. After helping to launch the Abortion Care Network, ACP explored conflict transformation techniques and decided to offer small grants to engage many more people in its mission. The Abortion Conversation Project has a website at www.abortionconversation.com and a blog at https://abortionconversationproject.wordpress.com/, as well as a facebook page. Supporters can also receive an occasional e-newsletter by clicking on this link: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=c8dmoojab&p=oi&m=1109660143458.

A Lot of Good Conversations…

September 22, 2012
The Abortion Conversation Project is considering 8 projects for funding in our mini-grant competition. Each of the applicants hope to encourage conversations about abortion in new ways or new audiences. The projects will challenge society’s stigma about abortion.Whether or not these projects are chosen, they are all doing amazing, worthwhile, and creative work. Here is the list:Mine: An Anthology of Reproductive Choices
zine
of first person stories of abortion and other reproductive justice issues. Faviana Rodriguez an artist in the This is an Emergency zine designed the poster above.Plants 4 Patients is a project to support patients by giving them a handmade ceramic planter with a small plant and a note of encouragement to promote both emotional and physical healing.

Repeal Hyde Art Project creates awareness of the Hyde Amendment which denies poor women coverage for abortions.

UniteWomen for a video, using flashmobs all over the country.

Inspire is a new online community for women who have had an abortion and want to process the experience.

Georgia Reproductive Justice Access Network an abortion fund wants to recruit and train new volunteers.

Faith Aloud will conduct a 40 days of prayer in advance of the election.

Connecting with Faith Communities The Arizona Abortion Access Project wants to bring together advocates and clergy and people of faith.

Stay tuned for the winning proposals!