Remember Mary Numair? She's the local hero who shut down anti-abortion protestors outside Planned Parenthood on NE MLK by hollering about yeast infections back in 2015. Now she's at it again, this time with a storytelling show, Storytell Your Abortion, featuring abortion stories from comedians Amber Clenaghen, Wendy Weiss, Alayna Becker, Julia Ramos, and Rochelle Cote. It's scheduled for May 27 at Blackwater Bar. Numair is hosting.
Numair is working with Seattle-based Shout Your Abortion (SYA) to produce the event. That organization was founded after Seattle activist Amelia Bonow's #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag, created with the aim of making women feel comfortable speaking up about their abortions, went very viral in 2015. SYA's focus thus far has been less on advocating for or against specific policies, and more on collecting stories about abortion, with the aim of weakening the stigma attached to it.
The work of destigmatizing abortion by talking about it isn't new. It's one of the methods frequently employed by major reproductive rights advocacy organizations like the political arm of Planned Parenthood or NARAL Pro-Choice America and smaller abortion funds alike. The forerunner to Shout Your Abortion arguably appeared in the debut issue of Ms. Magazine, in which 53 well-known American women signed a statement declaring that they'd had abortions:
Among those who signed were cofounding Ms. editors Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, writers Nora Ephron, Anaïs Nin and Susan Sontag and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
That was in 1972, over a year before abortion was legalized with the passage of Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, speaking out about abortion hasn't gotten any less important.