USA – Women’s stories may change the abortion narrative

Testimony about the horrors of abortion bans is more powerful than abstract conversations about life and choice.

By Mary Ziegler
August 3, 2023

In a courtroom in Austin, Texas, last month, five women put the state’s harsh abortion laws on trial.

Officially, their lawsuit aims to clarify the exceptions in the state’s complex scheme of abortion bans and restrictions. Since 2011, Texas has had an abortion law that defines a “medical emergency” to include any “life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.” Somewhat different definitions apply in other Texas laws, including SB8, the law allowing anyone to sue a doctor or someone aiding them for at least $10,000 per abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the women who brought the lawsuit, argues that because Texas’s exceptions are unclear or even contradictory, physicians are unsure when they can provide care and thus are likely to turn away even patients who qualify for a legal abortion because they have a life-threatening condition.


Why authentic abortion stories in TV and film are a sign of the times in post-Roe era

Hollywood has rich history of abortion storytelling, according to researcher

Jenna Benchetrit · CBC News
Aug 06, 2022

In 2004, a Canadian TV show made headlines for a controversial episode in which a pregnant teenage girl decides, much to her boyfriend's distress, to get an abortion. Her mother drives her to the clinic.

Yes, it was Degrassi: The Next Generation — and the infamous episode, entitled Accidents Will Happen, was postponed for American viewers after a U.S. cable channel decided to pull it before it could air.


‘This Is Us’ Actress Milana Vayntrub: My Abortion Story

Milana Vayntrub
Mon, February 7, 2022

In May 2020, I injured my ankle so badly I couldn’t move a toe. The slightest twitch sent a paralyzing bolt through my leg—like head-splitting microphone feedback that makes you recoil and cover your ears. That’s what back labor felt like—but in my spine.

My baby was “sunny side up”—a vaguely appetizing term that meant his head was pushing against my spine. Every time I had a contraction, it felt like my back was breaking. The pain felt unfair—like an injustice. Surely, this must be against some law! I thought, followed quickly by, I must call the head of the hospital! As the pain intensified, it became, I need to call the police! Finally, I landed on the president. Actually, scratch that. Kamala. She’d know what to do.


USA – More activists who have had abortions are saying so out loud. Here’s why

November 2, 2021
Danielle Kurtzleben

In 1992, an estimated half a million people gathered on the National Mall for a rally for abortion rights.

The speakers made many of the same arguments that abortion-rights advocates have made for decades, arguing that government shouldn't limit people's ability to make decisions about their own bodies.


USA – Young People Talking About Their Abortions Could Change Everything

Real abortion stories from real people have the power to change minds, as Paxton Smith's viral valedictorian speech reminded us. Here, a collection.

JUN 8, 2021

On June 1, the country was reminded of the power of unfettered, unfiltered, passionate storytelling. During what should have been a run-of-the-mill graduation ceremony for the seniors of Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, TX, valedictorian Paxton Smith made a last-minute change to her commencement speech, pivoting to address the continued attacks on abortion access. Her speech came in the wake of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signing an anti-abortion law that would ban the procedure at six weeks gestation, before most people even know they’re pregnant. (The law has not gone into effect and is likely to be struck down in court—abortion is still legal in all 50 states.)


USA – Dr. Meera Shah Will Never Stop Telling Abortion Stories

SEP 8, 2020

The inaugural issue of Ms. hit newsstands in the early ’70s with bold cover lines meant to establish itself as a different kind of women’s magazine. One read, “Women Tell The Truth About Their Abortions.” Inside, 53 prominent women, including Susan Sontag, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, and Billie Jean King, had begun a petition stating they’d had abortions and demanding “a repeal of all laws that restrict our reproductive freedom.”

“I like to think that that was a precursor to the many acts that led to the Roe v. Wade decision a year later,” Ms. editor Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel said in 2011. Still, the magazine had relaunched the campaign just five years earlier, amid a new wave of threats to reproductive freedom across the United States.