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The Radical Power of Telling the Truth


This Spacious Solidarity Dialogue is between Kristine Chan (PINSAN, Philippines) and Michelle Gallo (EQUIDAD de Genero, Mexico), inroads members who have been working on Shifting the Narrative around Abortions, to normalise conversations about abortions, to create safe spaces to share about abortion journeys and to advocate for a world free of abortion stigma.

Abortion Storytelling in Philippines and Mexico

We need to encourage people to question the narratives they have heard around abortions. Working on internalised stigma is the first step, to allow yourself the light bulb moment where you question what you have learned from society, religion, family, and start busting stigma from there. 

In the Philippines it is very religious, and therefore we need to come together as atheists, “heathens,” and freethinkers. There is a fear of being judged, and our strength comes from not fretting about that, and instead caring for people who have abortions. 

While in many organisations and activist networks, activists are often not sharing these experiences with each other. People who have not had abortion expeirences need to be conscious of passing the mic and not occypying too much space. At the same time, people who do not have abortion stories themselves, can create safe spaces for people who have had abortions in restrictive/criminalising situations such as the Phillipines. 

It is important to build networks and communities, but also 1:1 and anonymous connections so that people in restrictive settings can join in the conversation. It is important to pay people for abortion storytelling, or to offer stipends for people in remote, non-online spaces ways to participate in art and creative workshops.

When abortion art workshops and storytelling were held in-person, people were from the same neighbourhoods or geographical regions. However, now that the workshops moved online during the pandemic, people from different contexts and geographies could connect. 

When we say storytelling: it means narratives (drawing attention to power), testimonies (drawing attention to how these are real people’s experiences), and radical listening (allowing the stories to build connections and relationships to bust stigma). 

The ultimate goal of story circles, for example, is to have an interactive and reflexive space that allows for finding an affirming narrative around one’s abortion experience and liberation!


PASYA (Choice) Music Album

Telling Truer Stories Anthology

Report on Storytelling Circles

watch here

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