One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, yet it’s a topic that few women discuss openly. This was the case for women’s rights advocate Sherry Matusoff Merfish who spent her career fighting for women’s reproductive rights, but kept her own abortion and feelings of shame a secret from her two daughters until they left home for college.
In 2013, Sherry’s daughter Beth wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times called “My Mother’s Abortion.” It was the overwhelming response to this article that inspired the women to launch Not Alone, an online community where women and men are encouraged to share their abortion stories through testimonial videos.
“Our mission is simple: to let women who have had abortions know that they are not alone.”
“From the moment the essay was posted online, women from all over the country began writing to us with their own stories. Our previous silence made it clear that an experience shared by millions of American women is still too often surrounded by secrecy and shame. Not Alone is here to let women who have had abortions know that they are part of a community and that abortion is neither shameful nor uncommon.”
This past spring, Emily Letts, the woman behind the viral video documenting her own abortion, joined the Not Alone team saying, “Together we can change the culture and end the stigma around a woman’s reproductive decision. We believe that publicly sharing our experiences is the first step towards changing the culture and the conversation around abortion.”
Nothing is more impactful than a person sharing a story that needs to be told. We applaud these women for their boundless courage.
Sherry’s Abortion Story
Emily’s Abortion Story
Lead image: Brett, Sherry and Beth Merfish