Abortions are controversial, with many feeling shame when they go through the process. A new exhibition that debuted at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, has travelled to Oxford and now plans to be showcased in Belfast and London tells the stories of women who have faced the trauma of terminating a pregnancy.
The stigma around abortion is ignorant but not surprising. Although abortion in the US was deemed legal by the Supreme Court in 1973, the legalities vary from state to state and private anti-abortion agencies who often misleadingly allow women to think that they provide abortions have only recently been required to tell pregnant clients that they can get a publicly-financed abortion and contraception.
Recently in Brazil, male MPs have voted for it to be illegal for rape victims to have abortions, 9 out of 10 gynecologists in Apulia, Italy refuse to perform abortions, although they have been legal in the country since 1978 and in the UK despite the legality of abortions, hundreds of women each year don’t have one due to outsourcing of NHS services and lack of specialist doctors.
So the travelling exhibition entitled ‘My Body My Life’ sends a strong message at a socially and politically important time for women. The exhibition aims to break stigma by detailing stories of how easy it is to have an unplanned pregnancy and how harrowing society’s negative connotations of abortion can horrendously effect women going through it.
The project was originally an Open University (OU) research programme into women’s experiences of abortion, and has now grown into an experience where visitors can be educated on the realities of women having an abortion today.
The exhibition will next be in Belfast at Ulster University from 6th – 9th December before moving to London. To find out more, click here.