Abortion Speak Out

Each year, Friday evening of the conference features Breaking Silences: An Abortion Speak Out. This is a space for people who have had abortions to share their stories in a safe and supportive environment. Listening to such personal stories frames the weekend and grounds conference conversations in lived experiences.

History of the Speak Out 

The first documented abortion speak out in the U.S. took place in 1969 in New York City. This was in response to a meeting of the New York Joint Legislature Committee on the Problems of Public Health to discuss reform of the 86-year-old law outlawing abortion. Fifteen abortion "experts" spoke at the meeting, all but one of whom were men. Several members of Redstockings, a radical feminist group, interrupted the hearing and insisted that women's voices, particularly the voices of people who have personally had abortions, be included in the discussion.

Participants Have Said

"It puts a human face on this polarized and politicized question, and deepens again our awareness that this freedom is central to the ability of women to control our lives." —Sarah U.

"The abortion speak out was one of the most powerful, transformative experiences I have ever had. I've worked in reproductive rights advocacy in a variety of ways, but I never expected this event to touch me in the way that it did." —Jayna P.

"After hearing those stories and experiences all my doubts disappeared. I will spend my life fighting for choice and women's rights." —Rachel M.