The female game designers fighting back on abortion rights
Through video games, live-action role-playing games and interactive documentaries, developers are challenging the conversation around reproductive rights
Fri 28 Jun 2019
The year is 1972. You’re part of an underground network of feminists in Chicago that provide illegal (at the time) abortion services to vulnerable, pregnant people with few options. Despite the risk of imprisonment, and the ways that your personal experiences may not always perfectly align with your activism, you persist.
It’s emotionally complicated. It’s politically fraught. It’s a live-action roleplaying game by Jon Cole and Kelley Vanda called The Abortionists, which requires three players, one facilitator, six hours and a willingness to dig deep into the painful history of reproductive rights in the United States. That history has terrifying relevance in 2019, as numerous states pass laws that put their residents in a reality where abortion is functionally illegal. Based on the real-life work of a 1970s activist group called Jane, it challenges its participants to think about the “internal landscapes” of its players, and how they deal with the larger political and personal landscape of their world.