Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (It’s not just the right who can admit feeling uncomfortable about ending a pregnancy, 26 September) is right to acknowledge that some people may feel wary of speaking about their challenging experience of abortion, in case it undermines the fragile rights we have fought so hard for. In particular, if we are pro-choice, we may be reluctant to express ambivalence (let alone trauma) about our abortions, lest we add to anti-choice activists’ inaccurate narrative. They try to depict women who’ve had abortions as tragic victims, irreparably damaged by the experience.
Pro-choice activists, however, have opened up spaces for people to talk about their diverse abortion experiences: positive and negative. Telling those stories on platforms such as In Her Shoes in Ireland and My Body My Life in the UK adds to public understanding of abortion as a very common event, which affects us all in different ways. This acknowledges diverse experiences and works towards destigmatising abortion. Finally, talking to a non-judgmental listener like the volunteers on the pro-choice Abortion Talk helpline can help articulate unresolved feelings and make sense of the experience.
Dr Jayne Kavanagh and Prof Lesley Hoggart Co-founders, Abortion Talk