08 July 2013

Making Abortion Visible

Holly Fritz & Zoe. Photograph © Tara Todras-Whitehall.

Today The New York Times carried this Op-Ed entitled "My Mother's Abortion" that, insightfully zeros in on  the silence and shame that have been imposed in the US on the topic of abortion and on women who opt for abortions. The author, Beth Matusoff Merfish, concludes with a plea to break silence:
What the movement for reproductive rights needs is for the faces of freedom to emerge from the captivity of shame. To my mother’s generation, I ask: Speak openly about the choices you have made. To all women: ask your mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, sisters, daughters and partners about their reproductive histories. Show that abortion has myriad faces: those of women we love, respect and cherish. You have the power to cement in the minds of your communities and families the importance of reproductive freedom. You have made decisions that are private, even anguishing, but the weight of this political moment demands that you shed light on those decisions.
This is, I think, an especially important observation/demand. One might make the analogy to coming out of the closet. Here, contra Foucault, invisibility is a trap.

All that brought to mind the photography project by Tara Todras-Whitehall consisting of portraits of women, each wearing a tee-shirt simply stating "I Had an Abortion."

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