What is Abortion Stigma?
Abortion stigma is everywhere– in the media, in policy, in our communities, and even within ourselves. We know that people seeking abortions are bullied, shamed, marginalized, and sometimes even prevented by law or intimidation from seeking safe health care services.
Understanding abortion stigma can help us figure out why this happens, and develop creative ways to transform stigma into connection.
Understanding abortion stigma can also help us clarify questions that the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement has been asking for years: why don’t we hear about the abortion experiences of our mothers, sisters, friends? Why does it feel like securing our reproductive rights is a never ending uphill battle?
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In 2011, Steph was doing some fierce online activism around abortion stigma and Kate was conducting research on the same topic. Steph was looking for someone who had a research background in stigma; Kate was looking for someone who cared as much about stigma as she did. Kate invited Steph to come and do a research internship at ANSIRH in between her first and second year of graduate school. They discovered that they both started their careers in reproductive health by providing financial assistance to people who otherwise couldn’t afford the cost of their abortions. Together, they developed a shared vision that became the Sea Change Program.