Experiencing my own abortion and photographing the result was a sobering experience. As a woman, I reckon with the power of images every day. But after my abortion, I realised images are literally being used as a weapon to petrify and assault viewers into fear, shame, and isolation. The protesters' heartless use of lifeless foetus images made me feel cheated, lied to and manipulated. It was just propaganda: intended to shake the core of my deepest biological, intellectual and emotional foundation.
Within 48 hours of launching thisismyabortion.com, I received a deluge of emails from men, women and couples all over the world confiding in me their own courageous and unique abortion stories. Some told tales of horrific self-inflicted abortions in countries where abortion remains illegal. Others expressed sincere gratitude for my documentation, either because it mirrored their own experiences of safe abortions or, in some cases, because they had always associated abortion with the same grotesque images I had encountered while entering the clinic. [Guardian]
Instead of the images you normally see of tiny feet in a garbage can, This is My Abortion simply shows a jar of red liquid. I think if you haven't had the procedure, you don't realize the realities of what it looks like, especially as early as six weeks. It's similar to the way that abortion stories in the media are often illustrated by an image of a heavily pregnant woman, when the reality is that most women have abortions months before they would ever show. Intentional or not, those kinds of images reinforce the "babykiller" narrative of terminating a pregnancy, when the vast, vast majority of abortions are the removal of invisible-to-the-naked-eye lumps of cells.
Which is not to shame people who have later-term abortions. I just really respect "Jane" for being willing to share the details that people on both sides of the debate gloss over. Her story is really moving, and I'm grateful to her for sharing it, especially given the avalanche of hate mail she's got to be getting right now.
Via RH Reality Check.