Talking About Abortion - An Activist Toolkit

Do you agree that abortion should remain safe and legal? Yes? Congratulations - you're among good company. The overwhelming majority of Americans - 77% to be precise - support keeping abortion safe and legal!


Despite what the opposition would like you to believe - abortion is not controversial.


But, it is stigmatized. That's why we need to talk openly about abortion. By engaging with others openly about abortion and reproductive justice, we can break down abortion stigma and fight back against the attacks on reproductive rights.


Below you can find a training video, messaging guidance, and supporting materials to help you have meaningful conversations with your friends, family and community members about abortion.


How to talk about abortion activist training video:

Big Picture Tips:

  • DO speak with a confident, nonjudgmental voice. Avoid sounding strident or defensive.

  • DO lead with Planned Parenthood of Michigan's wide range of preventive health services.

  • DO explain that Planned Parenthood of Michigan is a non-profit.

  • DO share how many people rely on Planned Parenthood.

  • DO talk about health information, prevention, and education.

  • DO emphasize that Planned Parenthood of Michigan provides confidential, compassionate care to everyone.

  • DO use “an individual’s pregnancy” in lieu of more medical terms, and “unintended pregnancy” instead of “unplanned” or “unwanted.”

  • DO avoid stigmatizing other reproductive choices including placing a child for adoption or parenting.

  • DO remember that trans and non-binary people can also experience pregnancy and may need abortion care - so keep your language inclusive.


Powerful Phrases:

  • Acknowledging the complexity of the topic is powerful: “Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision.”

  • Don’t apologize for Planned Parenthood's abortion services by saying that “it’s only 5%” of what they do.” Instead say, “Abortion is a small and important part of what Planned Parenthood does.”

  • Help people think outside their bubble: “I don’t know a person’s specific situation” or “I am not in her shoes.”

  • Use the phrases “ending a pregnancy,” “abortion,” or the need for a “safe and legal procedure.”

  • Remind people that abortion stigma keeps people silent about their experience. This silence is harmful because it makes individuals feel alone in their experience. and it makes it easier to restrict access to abortion.

  • Center the pregnant person. Try saying, “decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or continue a pregnancy should be made by the pregnant person with the counsel of their family, their faith, and their health care provider.”


Helpful Facts:

  • 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.

  • Planned Parenthood serves 2.4 million people each year in 613 health centers across the nation.

  • By age 45, half of Americans who can get pregnant will have an unintended pregnancy and nearly 1 in 4 will have an abortion.

  • The majority of Americans support the right to safe and legal abortion.


Other Hot Topics:

Government Funding

Federal funds are not used for abortion. The Hyde Amendment, passed by Congress in 1976, bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, with exceptions for when the life of the pregnant person is in danger, or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest.


Rigorous research shows that the preventive health care Planned Parenthood provides saves taxpayer money in the long run.


PROFITING FROM ABORTION

Planned Parenthood of Michigan is a nonprofit; there are no profits. All revenues go directly back into the services Planned Parenthood provides in local communities.


POLITICS

No one turns to politicians for advice about blood pressure screening or cancer treatments. Politicians should not be involved in anyone’s personal medical decisions about their reproductive health or pregnancy.


WHEN LIFE BEGINS

Questions about when life begins are personal, and it’s just not that simple. For some it’s based on faith; for others, it’s a matter of science or medicine. One thing we do know is that politicians are not the experts.


Share your Abortion Story

Sharing personal a personal story is one of the most compelling ways to cut through preconceived arguments, and talk about the reality of abortion in people’s lives. By sharing your story you can help break the stigma and pave the way for others to share their experience.


We believe that stories are powerful. They move people and they connect people. If you’re willing to share the power behind your story, but want some extra support, we can help! Send us an email at ppam@ppmi.org and a staff member from our storytelling program will reach out to you about storytelling trainings, mentorships and opportunities to share.


Self Care

Breaking down abortion stigma can be hard emotional work - especially if you're being vulnerable and sharing personal stories.


It's okay to take a step back and do some self care. Here are some ideas to take care of yourself:

  • Reach out to friends or family for support

  • Go for a walk

  • Hug your pets

  • Listen to music

  • Take a bubble bath

  • Write in a journal

  • Attend a Planned Parenthood activist meeting and build community with people who share your values


Other Resources:

Download the Reproductive Freedom Conversation Guide: an in-depth guide to talking about abortion and reproductive freedom.

Download our Talking About Abortion Handout: great for taking this training to your local activist group.

Watch Planned Parenthood International’s training video on How to Educate about Abortion: great for teachers, sex educators and anyone else interested in educating about abortion.

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Mail Address: P.O. Box 15041, Lansing, MI 48901

Phone: 517.482.1080

Fax: 517.482.4876

Email: ppam@ppmi.org