The theme of this year’s September 28 Global Day of Action — Step Into Our Shoes — is right in stride with our mission and passion here at the Abortion Conversation Project.
This Annual Global Campaign is dedicating its 2016 event to challenging abortion stigma and the gender stereotypes that factor into the silence and shame around abortion care.
“Let’s spur conversations, counter gender stereotypes and shift the narrative surrounding abortion,” says the event’s website. The campaign, part of the Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), calls on people around the world to share their stories of having an abortion or of supporting others who have had ended pregnancies.
Here at ACP, we have focused on those same goals for the past 16 years, pioneering grassroots efforts to spark new and different conversations around abortion at the community level where lasting social change takes root.
Most of our Grant Partners are based in the United States, but in honor of the September 28 Campaign and its global reach, we are shining a spotlight on our stigma-busting partner in Mexico — The MARIA Fund, which since 2009 has helped more than 5,500 women access and afford safe and legal abortion care in Mexico.
Earlier this year, ACP provided funds, resources, and support to help The MARIA Fund put on a dialog-rich event that was highly unique because of its surprising venue and its distinctive audience.
The event was held at a museum, where people typically go to admire paintings or study relics, not to talk about abortion. Holding the video premiere at a museum in the heart of urban Mexico City helped draw the attendees out of their own communities to experience a different socioeconomic atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the unusual audience was a diverse group of about 100 human rights workers, rather than the typical gathering of reproductive health advocates and feminist allies. Having human rights defenders as the main audience was a strategy to foster greater cooperation and new discussions among various social justice groups.
The centerpiece of the event was the premier of a video series featuring Mexican celebrities reading testimonials of women who had obtained abortions with financial help from the MARIA Fund. The films were designed to show the general public that shame around abortion is unwarranted.
The video launch was part of a strategic communications effort called “Yo Aborto, Yo Acompaño, Yo Transformo,” which translates to I Abort, I Support, I Transform. This video from the campaign includes English subtitles.
“Our objective was for abortion to be understood as a human life experience, for stereotypes about abortion and women who have abortions to be broken, and for the right to abortion to be included in the human rights agenda,” said Oriana López Uribe, who led the project.
The videos, each lasting about five minutes, include gentle music as well as quotes presented in hand-written text as the popular celebrities read from paper in their hands. “Having people who are well-known read the stories allowed us to create a sense of familiarity for those who are not well-versed with the issue,” said Ms. López Uribe.
Now, The MARIA Fund has launched a new campaign designed to spread its message to the United States. Earlier this month, it began promoting this new effort, called “Invest in Abortion, Invest in Justice.”
This kind of outreach, which began by connecting individuals and small groups within a community in one city, helps to build a worldwide network of people who are altering the way we talk about abortion.
As we mark the coming September 28 Global Day of Action, we reaffirm our pledge to promote new and different conversations to eliminate stigma and ensure that girls and women have the human right to safe abortion care.
Please join us in this important work to uplift the dignity of people who seek abortion care and the people who provide them. Click here to become part of our community of stigma fighters. Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @ACPAbortion.
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