#Multiple Abortion Stigma: Twitter Talk

by

Twitter Talks are a new monthly discussion and open forum where inroads members can watch and participate in conversations between selected presenters who have been asked to tackle subjects around abortion stigma.

In our first talk on May 2, 2019, members from India, USA, Mexico, Northern Ireland, and Brazil answered questions about the stigmas associated with having more than one abortion experience, publically shared their personal stories and boldly broke down the ways that #MultipleAbortionStigma can show up in our work and political homes.

Why 2+ Abortions?

The need to explore the topic of multiple abortion stigma was sparked by a range of members-only conversations on the inroads listserv in response to questions from inroads member Karen Thurston’s blog and stigma-busting project 2 Plus Abortions Worldwide, as well as by Kenya Martin’s call for justice and representation for the stories of black people and people of color in the mainstream abortion rights movement in the US, which continues to exclude and ignore these storytellers and in turn, perpetuate multiple abortion stigma. Because of the burgeoning questions and tensions about stigma in “the movement,” I decided to bring people together to explore how #MultipleAbortionStigma is not just a part of the larger general community, but the ways in which stigma shows up in our lives and in the work that we do.

My goal in hosting this Twitter Talk was to facilitate a space where stigma-busters were able to make connections in a cross-cultural dialogue among their peers. I hoped to use the inroads Twitter platform to further amplify voices of a range of people who have been leading the way in combating multiple abortion stigma in the movement. It was important to me that the presenters be from diverse backgrounds and positions of leadership in their stigma-busting journeys since it is often this very lack of representation and prioritization of stigmatized identities that perpetuates stigma within the abortion community. As I began the process of contacting participants to lead the conversation, many shared with me how this topic was important to them and how they were eager unpack the ways that stigma is manifesting in spaces that are deemed to be feminist, pro-choice, and/or a part of the larger movement for abortion.

Meet the presenters

  • Kenya Martin, Abortion Storyteller, Texas, USA, @abortiondiva
  • Katie Gillum, inroads Executive Director, USA, @slowtext
  • Aditi Pinto, inroads Communications Team, India @AditiPinto
  • Emma Campbell, Co-Chair of Alliance For Choice, Northern Ireland @all4choice
  • Mel Gallo, Journalist & Activist, Brazil, @amelsoueu
  • Maria Luisa Sanchez, Advocate & Counselor for Medieg and CAMILE, inroads Steering Committee Member, Mexico @MLSF3
  • Dr. Melissa Madera, Founder of Abortion Diary Podcast & inroads Steering Committee Member, USA @abortiondiary
  • Spencer Tootle, Abortion Storyteller, Chicago, USA @spencertootle,

The selected group of presenters were quickly joined by other followers and inroads members on Twitter. The conversation was at once serious, intellectual, emotional, humorous, and passionate!

Using the following questions as a guide, I hoped to create a moment on the internet that normalized having more than one abortion experience and considered ways to break down the levels of stigma that are affecting the broader feminist community, pro-choice community, and movements for abortion rights. Read through and let us know in the comments your thoughts on #MultipleAbortionStigma, and follow the hashtag on twitter to see more responses. Also, let us know what topic you want to discuss at next month’s Twitter Talk!

“We need to openly talk about how abortion stigma is perpetuated in our so-called “pro-choice” community.”

Question 2: How have you seen 2+ abortion stigma show up in your personal work, and within “pro-choice” & feminist communities?

Question 3: What are the ways that providers stigmatize people who choose to have more than one abortion?

Safe, Legal, and Rare PLENTIFUL

Question 4: What are ways that the language we use (in our work, life, and political movements) is contributing to multiple abortion stigma?

“We have to stop feeding the ~morality MONSTER”

Question 5: What are the moral, medical, and legal myths about 2+ abortions that need to be busted ASAP?

“we need to move beyond the binary of #goodabortion #badabortion, and listen to real stories of real people”

Question 6: How do we move beyond the binary narrative of “good abortion” vs. “bad abortion” that often arises in conversations about abortion care?

Say it Again for the People in the Back: Abortion IS Birth Control!

Question 7: How does the stigma around abortion publically as birth control contribute to stigma for people who have had 2+ abortions?

Question 8: What does support for those who have had multiple abortion experiences look like in our movement to end abortion stigma?


On “Paradigm Shifting” and Abortion Stigma

The movement for abortion can be a complex and muddy matrix of funding, politics, elitism, morality, and power, which is especially difficult for people who are actively targeted, stigmatized, discriminated against to navigate. Even within the specific theme of multiple abortion stigma, discussants touched on a web of intersecting topics: medical professionals, economic and health care oppression in feminist nonprofit organizations, the ways that morality, classism and racism creep into and police storytelling, emotions of shock and disgust that are directed towards people who practice bodily autonomy, and the necessity for support within communities. Even with all of this heavy subject matter, the langague that participants used was overwhelmingly positive, and a barometer for how the network engages with multiple abortion stigma, with words like “celebrated” “plentiful” “STAR” and “care”. In the Talk, we created a space where we could talk about layers of stigma and biases that emerge from structural oppression and have an honest and informed conversation about the ways that we may be recreating this imbalance, and what we- people who are invested in this work- can do to subvert it. Those who participated showed up authentically, brought their individual perspectives, and questioned many preconceived notions about abortion that are often still perpetuated within the movement for abortion rights. This was in itself, a way to bust stigma and share with wider audiences a global dialogue that does not shy away from or apologize for supporting abortion no matter how many and no matter what the circumstances.

Next Steps for #MultipleAbortionStigma Busting

Feel free to answer the questions to share your thoughts on #MultipleAbortionStigma, and join us at our Webinar on May 16 from 10 am-11:45 am EDT where we will continue exploring this stigma with presentations from Karen Thurston, Kenya Martin, Barbara Grace Kiconco, Paige Fulton. Register Here.

Let us know in the comments which stigma-busting topic you want to discuss at next month’s inroads Twitter Talk!