The need for a change in the culture around the issue of abortion is clear. Conflict around abortion has occupied the American political system since before Roe (1973) and unlike other social issues, the court case deciding abortion rights for women, did not de-escalate social conflict. Instead the political advocacy has become more entrenched, sophisticated and professionalized and the battle is being fought in nearly every state and at the federal level. In this system, the debate over abortion has trumped abortion experience. Women who have abortions, providers of abortion and others who have experience with the issue are often silenced by political advocacy that can only tolerate certain stories or points of view.
We believe that the intense polarization of the “abortion wars” has a profoundly negative affect on women who need abortions, health care workers who provide abortion and the culture overall. We believe transforming the sociocultural environment (individual attitudes, discourse, media, and personal relationships) is the only way to create a world which affirms and values the decisions and experiences of women, providers and other individuals who are directly involved in or affected by abortion. This transformation requires a reorientation in our discourse, advocacy, and health care system.
We believe that it is possible to challenge entrenched cultural prejudice about abortion and create a more tolerant atmosphere that allows all experiences and values to be heard and respected.
The Board of the Abortion Conversation Project
Kate Cockrill, Board Chair
Peg Johnston, Chair Emeritus
Jeannie Ludlow, Secretary
Teresa Hornsby, Treasurer