“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.” –Coco Chanel
There is nothing more compelling than a real-life story, attaching a name or a face to an issue that is heavily politicized, to convey the true emotions that accompany it. A woman’s right to have a legal and safe abortion is one of them.
It’s no secret that the Trump administration is continually taking steps in its ongoing fight against abortion. Reforming federal health care is just one example, enabling lawmakers in several states to single out abortion and prohibit insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their policies. On an international scale, Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule on his first full day in office, prohibiting the allocation of U.S. funding to foreign non-governmental organizations that offer abortion services or information about the procedure. As a result, clinics have been shutting down and, says Amos Simpano, the director of clinical services for Family Health Options Kenya, “Women are basically stranded.”
Yes, it is time for women to tell their abortion stories.
One theater project, Out of Silence: Abortion stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign, is providing a safe and supportive space to do so. A transformative theatrical piece comprised of a series of vignettes inspired by women’s real life experiences with abortion, the play features 12 vignettes written by a diverse set of multi-generational, female playwrights based on the over 1,300 stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. “The play explores a wide range of situations and experiences to inspire conversation that moves beyond political rhetoric and divisive debate, instead highlighting the importance abortion plays in our lives,” says Kayan Irani, Emmy-award winning writer and producer, and the outreach coordinator at the 1 in 3 Campaign.
And now, the 1 in 3 Campaign is returning the script to its grassroots – to the thousands of people with a story to tell. It is calling on everyday people; students, actors, non-actors, educators, professionals, etc. to take the script and stage readings in their own communities. It can be performed in a café, gallery, on the street, in a waiting room, on the bus, on campus, in a classroom, or in whatever space welcomes you. “We encourage you to animate your community with stories of reproductive justice and abortion access,” Irani says.
And, like most theater, the process is also a product. Through the process of working with other participants, reading these stories, and by sharing their own, participants build a level of understanding and compassion about the vital importance of abortion access. This nationwide project is rolling out now, and Advocates for Youth can offer up to $500 to offset production costs, as well as local press and outreach.
“Our stories are legitimate, our stories are diverse, and our stories have the right to be heard,” Irani adds.
If you are interested in reading the script, seeing the toolkit, or discussing any aspect of how to get involved, contact Kayhan Irani at [email protected]
Lori Sokol, Ph.D., Executive Director