National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

In Washington Post op-ed, woman relates how stigma can isolate women seeking abortion care

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Britany Robinson writes about her abortion experience, discussing how abortion stigma can exacerbate what can be a "lonely experience."

Robinson writes, "It may take two people to get pregnant, but only one will feel the physical effects. Only one can ultimately make the decision of how to handle what's happening with her body. Thankfully, we still have that decision to make, despite those who try to take it away."

She adds that the stigma associated with abortion can add isolation for those who seek care. According to Robinson, abortion "is not something we're supposed to talk about" and if someone does decide to speak about her experience, she "[doesn't] dare tell anyone [she] didn't feel grief." Robinson explains, "We're expected to agonize over the decision, even though for many, it's a no-brainer."

To help herself process her own abortion experience, Robinson details how she began writing about it and then decided to share it publicly when "it struck [her] that other women probably needed to share their stories as badly as [she] did." She writes, "I began to talk about my abortion with friends, and discovered more and more women who had stories to share, too. Those who didn't were still open and supportive when hearing mine."

Robinson continues, "These stories were complicated to tell, but it's not so complicated to listen." She points to the #ShoutYourAbortion campaign, which had helped women "reclai[m] the conversation by refusing to be silent about their decision to end their pregnancies." Moreover, "[t]hese stories can be legally powerful, too," she writes, noting that 200 women shared their abortion experiences in amicus briefs filed in the Supreme Court case striking down abortion restrictions in Texas.

Regarding her own experience, and her difficult relationship with the man involved in the pregnancy, Robinson writes, "Ultimately, I healed by myself, without the help of a partner. Hearing other women's stories over the years helped me realize that I was strong enough to get through it without him." She concludes, "I hope this one will serve a similar purpose for someone else. I hope she knows that she's strong enough on her own -- and that she's not alone" (Robinson, Washington Post, 8/22).