Organizers of #ShoutYourAbortion hosted the Monday night event in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down Texas abortion restrictions.
A group gathered in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood Monday evening to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down regulations that reduced abortion clinics in Texas.
About a hundred people gathered Monday night, hours after the Supreme Court’s momentous 5-3 ruling, outside Neumos for the hourslong gathering that featured a public-art installation showing images of women who have had abortions.
The event is part of the #ShoutYourAbortion movement to encourage women to tell their abortion stories to personalize and destigmatize the procedure.
Images of dozens of women in T-shirts saying “Everyone knows I had an abortion” were projected onto the music venue’s East Pike Street wall for the installation. Venues in cities across the country, such as Los Angeles and Portland, were set to show the installation Monday night, too.
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Amelia Bonow, co-founder of the movement, led the group of Capitol Hill supporters, many of whom held signs at the street corner reading “Abortion is normal” and cheered as she gave emotional testimony.
“Let’s call this what it is — we dodged a bullet,” she said to the crowd of the Supreme Court’s ruling, advising that they use it as momentum for more change. “This decision could have gone either way, which is so devastating.”
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Since the ruling, which sided with advocates who said the regulations in Texas were a veiled attempt to make getting an abortion more challenging, local advocates of women’s health and reproductive rights have voiced support.
The rules in Texas required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet stricter standards for outpatient surgery. As a result, many clinics closed, leaving a huge area without a clinic that performs abortions.
“It (the ruling) gives me a little bit more faith in a country at a time I didn’t have faith,” said Liz Speigel, 31, of Seattle’s Beacon Hill, who is one of the women featured in the Capitol Hill art installation.
She initially had some hesitation about joining the effort, she said, thinking she should keep her abortion and experience private. But once she learned about the movement, she felt she could contribute to a larger message by opening up.
“It’s not an easy thing to talk about,” she said.
Seattle writer Lindy West with her friend Bonow created the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag, which social-media users across the world have adopted.
Stacey Jurss, 33, of Shoreline, who helped take photos for the installation and is also a subject, called participating in the installation cathartic.
She followed through with a pregnancy after being sexually assaulted years ago, but later became pregnant again. At that point, she said, she knew what it took to raise a child and chose abortion.
“I had my daughter and it’s changed my life,” she said. “But I have gratitude that I could decide it.”