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Archive for January, 2013

* This was first published on Mother Jones *

Jane Roe never had an abortion. In fact, she is not even pro-choice. Her real name is Norma McCorvey, and it’s been 40 years since she was the anonymous plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that eventually became the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

McCorvey’s legal pseudonym is shorthand for a defining victory of the pro-choice movement, yet she has dedicated most of her life to the pro-life movement. She is a symbol for all that was won and all that has been lost in the decades of culture war—a conflict that has unmoored our nation’s public discourse on abortion.

Norma is like a lot of people who regularly shift their views and allegiances surrounding abortion. These changes show up in opinion polls, and activists on both sides regularly use them to claim that their side is capturing the hearts and souls of Americans. But, the truth is that our hearts and souls have been waiting for the politics to catch up. (more…)

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I had a great time sharing stories with other women who have had abortions on Huff Post Live last week.  No politics – only personal experience. The ultimate practice of Pro-Voice.  You can check it out here.

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*This was first published on Exhale.*

The characters on the television drama Parenthood experience issues many families face: a mother going through cancer, a child struggling to adjust to his adopted family, and a brother learning the intricacies of his interracial family. The emotion and connection viewers feel to the extended Braverman clan is what makes Parenthood such an addictive series to watch.

On January 8, 2013, in an episode titled “Small Victories,” Parenthood joined a  handful of TV series (such as Maude, Friday Night Lights andDeGrassi:The Next Generation) to feature a story about a personal experience with abortion. Before it even aired, Parenthood warned its viewers by Twitter to: “have your tissues handy.”

Sarah Watson is co-executive producer for Parenthood and was the writer of “Small Victories.” Sarah is known for her ability to tackle tough topics with humanity and empathy, including an episode earlier this season about the N-word. “It’s hard,” Ms. Watson says “to write about big, weighty issues [like racism or abortion] with experiences that are not your own. It requires incredible care. They are challenging stories as a writer” she revealed in a recent interview. And, she affirms that she’s really satisfied with how they both turned out. (more…)

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*This was first published on Exhale.*

Tonight, on NBC’s hit show Parenthood, teenage character Amy, the girlfriend of Drew (the son of Lauren Graham’s character, Sarah Braverman) has an abortion. Earlier in the series, viewers watched these two young people decide to have sex with each other, both for the first time.

The character Amy is not alone. Even though we don’t see personal experiences with abortion portrayed very often on TV or in the movies, abortion is incredibly common. Over a third of women in America will have one by the time they are 45; and women are talking more openly about their abortions.

Chances are you know someone like Amy or Drew. Or, you know a parent like Sarah who is dealing with the abortion of a son or daughter. It’s still rare to talk with the people in our lives about an abortion experience, so if someone you love tells you that they’ve had one, it’s important to show you care. (more…)

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*This post was originally published on the blog of WITNESS, the international, human rights video advocacy organization* 

Once you put a personal story into the world, you have no control over where it goes.  Someone can label it with a hashtag, add it to a tumblr, or remix with other stories. It can become an entirely different story altogether.  It happens all the time–just ask Carolyn Jones or Kassi Underwood.

And it just happened to me. Again.

As filmmakers, writers, publishers, activists, and leaders we work with others’ stories. We are storysharers more than storytellers, and we have an obligation to prioritize the original storytellers’ voices and messages. We cannot just look for stories that best convey our own agenda. My organization, Exhale, has written guides helping advocates to storyshare responsibly and to help women make decisions about when and how to share their stories.

As a storyteller, I was thrilled by an offer — from an online news source dedicated to progressive women’s causes — to republish an excerpt of my work. They had chosen my essay, “My Abortion Brought Us Together,” from Nothing But the Truth So Help me God: 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection.

What could go wrong? (more…)

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