How can you be an ally to people who’ve had abortions? Here are our recommendations:
- Recognize and reflect on your relative privilege. Many people face multiple forms of prejudice and discrimination on a regular basis. That doesn’t make us immune from accidentally reinforcing abortion stigma, even if we don’t mean to. No matter your multiple intersectional identities, if you haven’t had an abortion, you may not understand how personal and hurtful a stigmatizing comment about abortion can feel.
- Align yourself publicly with people who’ve had abortions by acknowledging their expertise on their own experience, and asserting their right to be loved and supported.
- Ask your friend who’s had an abortion how they want to be supported, especially at times where abortion stigma is intense. This might include times where they anticipate being attacked on social media for being public about their abortion or when talking to an anti-abortion family member about their abortion for the first time.
- Abortion allies speak up when they hear something stigmatizing. Often because an ally isn’t part of a stigmatized group, they hear comments or jokes that are hurtful. An abortion ally doesn’t act as a bystander – when they see something stigmatizing, they say something. Speaking out tells the person who made the inappropriate comment that their comments are not welcome in your presence.
- Abortion allies check in with their friend who’s had an abortion after an incident to make sure they have the support they need. For example, an ally might notice that an anti-abortion billboard has gone up in their community, and email their friend to ask how they’re feeling about it.
- Abortion allies admit their mistakes. We are all impacted by abortion stigma. Stigma is everywhere – in policy, in media, in our communities. We can’t help it if sometimes stigma creeps into our own language. When allies accidentally make a mistake, we own up to those mistakes and learn from them.