Roe Under Attack: Why Telling Abortion Stories is Necessary

January 22, 2015

As we honor yet another Roe v. Wade anniversary, the case that legalized the right to an abortion in the United States, the country will discuss the state of access to safe abortion care and argue over the morality of the procedure. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to hear stories from the 30 percent of women who will choose an abortion the time they are 45. Often, the voices we hear from in the media are White women, politicians, and television pundits, rarely Black women. But These days, the tide is turning and we are fighting to make sure our own voices are rising to the top.

For far too long, those who have not, and will never have an abortion have been twisting and reshaping the narrative. Opponents of reproductive healthcare access have been using stigma and shame to erase our stories and force us to feel embarrassment and judgment for making a decision that is best for us, and our families. As Tasha Fierce explained when sharing her abortion story at, that mark of shame runs deep. “For Black women, our behavior reflects on Black folks as a whole, specifically other Black women—so the scope of the shame is much wider. An unintended pregnancy can call your responsibility into question, and regardless of your age, the specter of the stereotypical Black teenage mother casts a long shadow.” I know this all too well – it was the feeling I felt when faced with an unintended pregnancy at 19 years old. I knew no matter what decision I made, I would be chided for it.


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