It can feel uncomfortable to keep telling our abortion stories – but it is still essential

Many experiences are like mine: unexceptional, not ‘deserving’ or ‘worthy’. The more of those testimonies we hear, the stronger we are in our fight to protect women’s rights

Emma Beddington
Mon 16 Nov 2020

One of the last things I did before lockdown was attend a rally supporting the protests against Poland’s constitutional court ruling that introduced a near-total ban on abortion. Hardening the country’s already terrifyingly restrictive current law, it would, if enforced, remove one of the few narrow exceptions still permitted: termination in the event of congenital birth defects.

The scale of protests in Poland has been extraordinary – and hopeful. With up to 100,000 people gathering nightly in Warsaw, they seem to have forced a pause in implementation of this appalling ruling. My damp, local version was less impressive – there were fewer than 100 of us (including dogs and babies), carefully distanced, in cagoules and masks – but no less moving, hearing young Polish women and men stand up and denounce a sclerotic, repressive ancien regime I’m desperate to see them sweep away.


How 343 Women Made French History by Talking About Their Abortions

How 343 Women Made French History by Talking About Their Abortions

By Jess McHugh
November 26, 2018

On April 5, 1971, in France, 343 filmmakers, writers, actresses, singers and philosophers ended a long-held silence.

“One million women have abortions each year in France,” they wrote in a manifesto published in the magazine Nouvel Observateur. “I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I’ve had an abortion. We demand open access to contraceptives; we demand open abortion.”


USA – Let’s Talk About My Abortion (and Yours)

Let’s Talk About My Abortion (and Yours)

By Cindi Leive
Ms. Leive is a former editor in chief of Glamour and Self.
June 30, 2018

Several months ago, I appeared on a morning TV show alongside Cecile Richards, then the president of Planned Parenthood. Our topic had been women’s activism, and we’d both spoken in equal amounts. But when I checked Twitter later, the violent insults were flying only at Ms. Richards, with commenters calling her a “baby butcher” and “this puke bitch” for her support of abortion rights. None took aim at me — and as I read the stream, I felt more cowardly than I can ever remember, as if I were crouched in a foxhole while Ms. Richards took fire for the rest of us.

Why was I letting her take the heat? After all, I’d had an abortion myself.


When 343 French ‘Sluts’ Fought for Abortion Rights — and Won

When 343 French 'Sluts' Fought for Abortion Rights — and Won

By Fiona Zublin

“I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I have had an abortion.” So signed Simone de Beauvoir, Catherine Deneuve, Agnès Varda and other famous French women, bravely adding their names to the “Manifesto of the 343,” a document that could have led to their prosecution, and that raised the profile of French pro-choice activists.

It was April 1971, and hundreds of French women signed their names, swearing they had sought illegal abortions. The manifesto arguably led to the advent of laws favoring a woman’s right to choose in France — a country that while famously liberal in many ways, has often lagged on women’s rights. French women weren’t allowed to vote until 1944, and while Roe v. Wade gave American women the right to an abortion in 1973, in the early 1970s, French women were still traveling to the U.K. — where abortion was legalized in 1967 — whenever they decided that pregnancy and motherhood wasn’t a viable option.

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