ACP Advisory Board Member Loretta Ross is a major figure in modern black history, a visionary leader who helped create the Reproductive Justice Movement and who continues to champion abortion as a human right that fits into a broader crusade for economic, gender, and racial equality.
This Black History Month, Ross has a profoundly hopeful outlook on the future, despite the challenges of a Republican-controlled federal government and state legislators obsessed with blocking access to abortion care.
“The sky is not falling,” says Ross, who sees current events through the lens of history. “For people who endure oppression, there have always been times like these. What’s important is that we will not go back and we will not back down.”
Instead of giving into fear and negativity, Ross encourages advocates for safe, legal, and nonjudgmental abortion care to “validate and celebrate each other” and focus on the victories.
To help us all fulfill her mandate, here are four great reasons to rejoice:
1. More people are engaged. Abortion providers reported an unprecedented surge in volunteer applications at their clinics after last month’s Women’s March on Washington, which galvanized millions of people around the globe to pour into the streets to protest threats to reproductive and other rights.
2. The language is evolving. After decades of lazy reporting on reproductive rights as “pro-choice versus pro-life,” journalists are finally paying attention to the wider framing that declares“Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” In this article about the history of the phrase, Ross explains that she has waited for three decades to finally see it become a clarion call for feminist organizing.
3. Research is building. Studies are being completed that debunk fake science used by anti-choice zealots in court cases and propaganda campaigns. This month, ANSIRH and Innovating Education in Reproductive Health released this series of videos and lectures called Abortion Explained, making their stigma-busting research accessible to the wider public.
4. Grassroots efforts are proliferating. Creative individuals around the globe continue to design unique projects to end the unjustified shame of abortion and replace it with much-deserved affirmation, respect, and dignity.
At ACP, we have the honor of providing funds and other resources to people who work on the frontline of culture change at the community level. We have received far more applications for funds than we could grant, showing that the desire to end abortion stigma is stronger than ever.
In addition to our current grant partners, many innovative stigma-busters submitted proposals that should give everyone hope for the future. Here is a sampling of those unique projects:
The Sea Change Program has created a board game for young people to play with their friends. It sparks conversations with questions about sex, relationships and reproduction.
Shout Your Abortion envisions a children’s book about abortion that would generate intimate conversations within families and help normalize abortion.
Working with Women Help Women International, Susan Yanow wants to see a guide about medication abortion that includes a section to educate about language, pointing out terms that stigmatize and offering new words that dignify.
The Youth Association for Development (YAD) in Pakistan is working on a training program and radio messages that will focus on helping men become supporters of abortion.
The SAYWHAT Organization in Zimbabwe has a plan to document abortion stories on video, audio, and text to reach young people and community leaders who have the power to influence opinions.
The Maternal and Child Health Initiative (MACHI) in Uganda envisions targeting one industrial area to set up intimate, one-on-one conversations in its Break The Silence Project.
Abortion Conversation Projects is building a Stigma-Busting Community. Join us through our website , Facebook, and Twitter @ACPabortion. Please donate to help us change conversations around abortion care.