The Stories About Abortion That You Need to Hear

It has been 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, but women's reproductive rights are hardly secure, and the anti-choice movement is well-organized and hard at work trying to prevent these rights from being exercised. As part of its struggle against recent restrictions on abortion, NARAL Pro-Choice America has begun the Choice Out Loud writing contest, which attempts to connect with and inspire millennials. After all, if it wishes to succeed, the pro-choice movement in America must look to the voice and passion of the millennial generation, and ask it to continue to protect women's right to choose.

Millennials respond less to political rhetoric and statistics than the resonant truths of complicated experiences, values, and choices. Choice Out Loud holds that "every decision has a story." In an effort to show the world how much those stories matter, this smart campaign calls for America's youth to share their stories of choice in its writing contest. In countering the shame and moral rhetoric employed by the anti-choice movement, NARAL hopes to cultivate a pro-choice movement empowered by honesty and compassion for what women face when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy. 

Choice Out Loud hopes to end the stigma and shame women face surrounding the subject of abortion. Tanisha Humphrey, a member of the campaign's story review board, hopes that women will take the chance to speak up and share their stories, rather than letting themselves be "silenced by stigma and shame." As she puts it, the contest is a response to the fact that "the anti-choice movement positions itself as the arbiter of morality in this country." The values surrounding choice are complex, varied, and ultimately personal. By staying silent about the important of choice, women allow anti-choice moral rhetoric to work against them and their right to choose. The campaign hopes to encourage women to raise their voices, to bring new perspectives to the conversation, and to make the conversation about women and their lives, instead of letting shame, stigma, and silence continue.

The initiative isn't an endorsement of abortion, but of allowing women to voice their own opinions and experiences, and to make their own choices. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has pointed out, "when government controls that decision for [a woman], she's being treated as less than a full adult human being responsible for her own choices." This campaign will highlight the complexity and difficulty surrounding choice, and present stories that have the power to preserve the right to choose in our generation.

Though the majority of the millennial generation supports the right to choose, young people also recognize that abortion raises complicated and challenging questions, which is precisely why the opportunity to hear each other's stories is so important. By allowing for open dialogue about the complexity and nuances of the issue, NARAL is creating a space where Millennials can confront a difficult question with honesty and compassion. Share your story, and help the movement thrive.