Although one in three British women will have an abortion during their lifetime, terminating a pregnancy remains controversial and stigmatised. Many women who have an abortion will internalise that stigma, and experience isolation and shame as a result, and this may explain some of the negative aspects of women’s abortion experiences, such as why some wish to conceal it.‘My Body My Life’ is a public engagement project that seeks to this stigma around abortion by bringing real stories of abortion into the open. These stories show how easily an unplanned pregnancy can become part of women’s lives, how different women have made their decision about having an abortion, and what the process was like for them. Our hope is that by creating a space in which women (and men) 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.
On this website, visitors can read women’s stories of abortion in their own words. Originally collected as part of Open University (OU) research into women’s experiences of abortion, this research has grown into a broad public engagement project co-led by OU and the University of Oxford. It now includes this website, a travelling multi-media exhibition and a booklet of abortion stories that is available at BPAS clinics across the country.
Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to read women’s abortion stories, watch their video diaries, explore the abortion stories displayed in our clothing display, and, if they wish, contribute their own story in our swing-tag display. The exhibition is staffed with collaborators and volunteers who will be available to discuss the project and abortion generally, and refer visitors to other services if needed.
The exhibition was part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, and now travels to Oxford in November, and then on to Belfast and London.