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New exhibition brings real stories of abortion into the open

My Body My Life is a public engagement project challenging abortion stigma by providing women with a safe space to share their experiences.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, attitudes towards the ever contentious pro-choice/pro-life debate have shifted significantly both ways across the globe.

In Latin America, Argentina became the first major country in the region to legalise the practice, while Poland – on the flipside – outlawed the most common of its already extremely limited grounds for terminating a pregnancy.

With the movement to secure women’s rights to abortion in flux (regardless of the monumental gains that have been made in recent years) 2021 has presented a pivotal moment to discuss the prevailing stigma around the practice.

Particularly because, in isolation, abortion has not only become considerably less accessible – almost two years of relative confinement appears to have widened existing gaps in availability of the service – but less talked about as well.


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Still, the stats are high. Within their lifetime, one third of women in the UK will have an abortion, 200,000 of which take place every year countrywide.

It’s for this reason that fostering a safe space for them to share their experiences (good and bad) is of so much importance. Rather than viewing it a topic shrouded in shame and secrecy, numerous humanitarian organisations are pushing for improved openness on a large scale, so women no longer need to suffer in silence.

One such organisation is My Body My Life, a public engagement project bringing real stories of abortion into the open.

How? With an exhibition that visually illustrates just how many people have made this choice and what the process was like for them. Stories are told via video essays performed by actors but are based on real submissions.


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‘Our hope is that by creating a space in which everyone can share their stories, the project will contribute to opening up conversations about real experiences of abortion – positive and negative – to enable us all to speak, to listen, and to understand without judgment,’ explains their website. ‘We have had fantastic responses to the project, with many people saying they have felt able to talk about their abortions for the first time.’

Initially an in-person pop up, My Body My Life moved online during lockdown. It now acts as an essential outlet and support system for thousands of people around the world.

‘I didn’t know anything about abortion and the only stories I could find were from people who talked about regret and an awful experience,’ shares one anonymous woman. ‘I wanted to talk to someone with a more normal experience, someone to tell me that I would be fine.’

A problem shared, is a problem solved, after all.