Fall, 2013 ACP minigrant awardee AbortionChat has been spreading the word and engaging in challenging conversations about abortion. Author Lynne Schmidt and her collaborators, Alex and Allie, used their ACP minigrant funds to better organize their weekly chat topics on Twitter and to carry their message to several national conferences across the U.S. At these conferences, they shared the AbortionChat story and asked people to make declarations about their own beliefs around questions of pregnancy and reproduction. ACP is proud to have helped bring AbortionChat to so many audiences.
We asked AbortionChat to share some of their grant-funded work with us. Here are some highlights from their year: “We traveled to North Carolina, Seattle, Boston, and New Jersey. . . .We asked people’s opinions on abortions. We asked if they were to get pregnant (they themselves or their partners) what they would do. We encouraged those conversations. We talked about forms of birth control. We met several people who had experienced their own abortions. We met people who encouraged the work we do, and people who were in fear for our lives because of the work we do.We attended our first ever Abortion Speak Out and hope to host one in the upcoming year. We encouraged a 19 year old woman who had an abortion a year ago to be more open about her story, and offered support because she still hasn’t been able to tell her mother. We shared our own stories. . . .” They also gave out brochures and increased the traffic on their Twitter feed.
They learned how important it is to create “a safe place to talk,” and found that, when they did, “stories started pouring out of people.” They report that their grant “helped redefine AbortionChat, give us a better direction, and a greater understanding for the work we’re doing. Rather than just giving our opinions all the time, we’re better able to ask for OTHER people’s . . . allow[ing] them a safe place to converse, no matter what they’re saying.”
As they continue to move forward, AbortionChat has big plans: They hope to host an abortion speak-out in the coming year. In addition, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, they will host “authors Kassi Underwood, and Bonnie Rough discussing their abortion experiences, as well as what it was like to write their memoirs.” They report, “We are working toward hosting Repro Happy Hours in the Portland, Maine area so that we can engage people in the community even more. We have had a couple of invitations for universities and are hoping to start branching out in that avenue to continue sharing stories, as well as continuing to make it more and more safe for people who’ve faced abortion to share their stories. We are hoping that by 2015 we will have applied and received non-profit status to continue the work we’re doing.”
Please join ACP as we congratulate AbortionChat for their wonderful work and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook!