Feminist Conversations is a regular feature here at Feminists For Choice. Today we are talking to Jane, founder of the website thisismyabortion.com. On the site, Jane shares pictures of her abortion and the website has received many comments from women all over the world.
1. How did the project come about?
This project came about after I had an abortion. The day I went in for my procedure, I was bombarded by anti-choice fanatics outside the clinic displaying bloody images of dead babies. It was horrific. I was determined to know what my abortion would look like. I decided to take pictures with my phone of the abortion after the procedure was over. It took some time for me to decide to publish these photos and make a project out of it.
2.What was your main goal when deciding to show pictures of your abortion? Was it mostly personal or also political?
The main goal for me was educational. I felt vastly manipulated by the anti-choice protesters outside that clinic that day. They took advantage of my fragile state in an unscrupulous calculated manner. It was, and is, blatant propaganda to fulfill an anti-choice agenda.
Not all abortions look the way they are portrayed on those posters. In fact, many don’t. It is only fair that women and men are given the full truth, not just a partial truth. I’ve had many readers that have reached out to me simply because they cannot even find information about what an abortion feels like. It is critical that women and men share and talk to one another about their experiences. My goal was, and still is, to contribute to education around abortion as a whole. This is another perspective to add to all the information that is out there. Through education, women can make an informed decision for their health and body.
3. Did you have any hopes/fears for how your pictures would be received?
Yes, of course. I had hoped this project could reach women and men that feel alone, scared, isolated, or simply confused about abortion. If this project has touched one woman in need, then it has been a success to me. This project felt different in the sense that it is personal, not institutional. It is not affiliated with an organization or political party. It’s just me, sharing with you. In this way, this project has opened the doors for many women and girls to share with me their very intimate stories associated with abortion. It’s been amazing hearing from women around the world who all share similar stories. Taboos around abortion must be broken. So many of us share the same story.
I was concerned about religious and anti-choice lash back and it’s possible implications. I knew that it would be a target from the fanatics. However, nothing could really prepare me for the spiteful, often abusive, violent, and at times alarming hate mail I received. It’s been eye-opening learning the true depth of hatred out there.
4. Your website has received a great amount of positive comments. Did you expect this?
No, I had no idea what to expect. It’s been humbling, a real honor. It has given strength to continue on when at times, I was too scared and upset to open the next email.
5. What would you like to see changed about the information concerning abortion in the future?
Gosh… so many things! Specifically relating to this project, we could start with the dead baby image propaganda. It would be helpful if there were laws that outlined that images used for abortion propaganda must state at what stage of pregnancy the image was taken and the source of the image. The labels would have to be legible from a good distance. We don’t live in the dark ages. Information is power. People should be demanding truth.