Using ‘Artivism’ to Combat Abortion Stigma

By Marah Lange, MSW Intern, Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project

In my time as an intern at the Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project, I have considered ways I could connect my work to my experience as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Since attending Abortion Out Loud: Lifting the Scarlet A last fall at Haverford College and hearing Louise Melling, Director of Center of Liberty and Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU, speak about the impact of abortion stigma in the legislature and more broadly, I have been eager to play my part in fighting stigma.

Last week, the 1 in 3 Campaign gave me that chance in the form of “artivism.” As a grassroots organization, the 1 in 3 Campaign is dedicated to creating a platform where women can share their stories in an effort to “build a culture of compassion, empathy, and support for access to basic health care”. Since 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetime, each will undoubtedly have a different set of circumstances surrounding their experience and sharing those stories is powerful.

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These images are part of an “artivism” display at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice to help support the 1 in 3 campaign.

To support this campaign, I and many other student activists across the country posted real stories of women and their abortions in busy public spaces on our campuses. It was my intention for these stories to spark conversation among fellow students and to shed light on the fact that many women will make the decision to have an abortion and that is okay. I am hopeful that this small attempt at fighting stigma will have an effect on my campus and that those who observed the display will carry the stories with them as social work professionals and advocates moving forward.

To see the full display, please visit the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.

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