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Abortion rights group urges people to share their stories: 'Shout your abortion'

The campaign was started by social justice activist Amelia Bonow when she shared her own abortion story.

Abortion rights group urges people to share their stories: 'Shout your abortion'
TALLAHASSEE, FL - FEBRUARY 16: Advocates for bodily autonomy march to the Florida Capitol to protest a bill before the Florida legislature to limit abortions on February 16, 2022 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

As more and more conservative states attempt to restrict access to abortion rights, pro-choice activists are urging people to share their abortion stories. Championed by the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion, the campaign aims to normalize abortion. The campaign was started by social justice activist Amelia Bonow when she shared her own abortion story. The campaign has now become a nonprofit abortion rights organization named Shout Your Abortion (SYA). Co-founded by Amelia Bonow and Lindy West, another activist, the group aims to "create ways for people to share their abortion stories and normalizing abortion in culture at large," reported CNN.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Sam Goldman of Refuse Fascism speaks at a rally put on by the "Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights" group in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

"We are out here. We are having abortions, and we are talking about them, at whatever volume we choose," states the Shout Your Abortion website. "It's time for us to take back our own stories." The website shares thousands of stories from people of all ages, races and gender identities. Abortion is more common than most assume and SYA believes the topic is considered taboo because very few people share their stories. According to a 2021 World Health Organization (WHO) report, six out of 10 of all unexpected pregnancies end in abortion. The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute noted that one in four American women will have an abortion by the age of 45. SYA said that more people sharing their abortion experiences will remove feelings of shame, guilt and isolation associated with it.



 

SYA also believes people sharing their stories is key to protecting abortion rights. "We believe that doing all these things openly, to whatever degree a person is comfortable doing so, is the way we will build a broad and uncompromising base of support for abortion access," said Bonow. "We need to start thinking about abortion access as a community responsibility." Arielle Cohen, who had an abortion in 2012, agrees. She was a college student at SUNY Purchase and a campus leader. She became pregnant mid-semester and had only $1,000 to last her until the end of the semester. Abortion was the only choice she had and she's thankful for it today. "I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't been able to get the money together for those two pills," said Cohen. She recalls being embarrassed by it. "The stigma and isolation I faced made me extremely depressed," she said. "I was embarrassed that I was depressed and felt ashamed for not knowing how to talk about it," she added.

She has now shared her story through SYA in the hope that others in vulnerable positions draw strength from it. "Today, I am really proud to say I had an abortion," said Cohen. "I'm proud to know that when I spoke out about it publicly for the first time it created a domino effect where other people told me their stories for the first time. I am honored to hold those stories for others." SYA is not just about sharing stories about abortion but also resources. The organization helps raise awareness about abortion pills and tries to help with abortion access, especially for patients who have restricted access due to state laws. Many celebrities including Nicki Minaj, Busy Phillipps, Jameela Jamil and Whoopi Goldberg, among others, have opened up about getting abortions, reported PEOPLE



 


The Supreme Court heard arguments on abortion rights in December 2021 and is expected to give a final ruling in June, 2022. It could mark the reversal of Roe v. Wade. The anti-abortion law passed in Texas encourages vigilantism by rewarding civilians $10,000 for successful lawsuits against anyone who "aids and abets" a woman who gets an abortion after fetal activity can be detected. "A physician who made that determination in the moment would be doing so knowing that if someone second-guessed their judgment, [anyone] could file a lawsuit saying that you violated SB 8," said Molly Duane, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, reported NPR. Duane said healthcare providers are "extremely and understandably fearful" of providing abortions, even in medical emergencies, because of the way the law is written.