Tennessee Stories Project Frequently Asked Questions
How did the Tennessee Stories Project start?
In 2015, Knoxville Advocates for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood activists in Middle Tennessee independently reached the conclusion that in order to move the needle on reproductive rights in Tennessee, the voice of women who have had abortions needed to be elevated. We know that when voters hear from women who have experienced abortions, they become more compassionate and empathetic.
Why is there a Tennessee Stories Project?
The Tennessee Stories Project is a space for Tennesseans to share their personal experiences about abortion and the ongoing fight for reproductive rights. Too often, conversations about abortion are dominated by the voices of those who seek to shame and intimidate. Our goal is to strip away the stigma associated with abortion by lifting up the voices of those who have had abortions in order to reclaim our stories and reshape the conversation.
Even though 1 in 4 American cisgender women will have an abortion during her reproductive lifetime, many people don’t talk about the experience because of the stigma associated with abortion. Abortion stigma is a shared understanding that abortion is morally wrong or socially unacceptable. We reject this premise and believe that by sharing stories about our personal experiences; we can create a more inclusive, empathetic, and compassionate space for women to make personal health care decisions. Simply, we intend to end abortion stigma.
We also believe that stigma enables politicians to pass laws restricting access to abortion, endangering women and their families, and disproportionately affecting low income communities. Abortion is a legal medical procedure, and most Americans support keeping it safe and accessible. We seek to take abortion stigma away as a political tool to generate votes, raise money, and rob us of our own stories.
Why does the Tennessee Stories Project website want to list partners?
In order to destigmatize abortion, a broad front of organizations is necessary to publicly demonstrate courage and compassion for women and families who have experienced stigma. Lending the credentials of multiple organizations will help encourage more women to share their experiences publicly as well.
What does it mean to be a partner?
Assistance may include simply lending an organization’s name to demonstrate support to end the stigma surrounding abortion in Tennessee. Participation may also include recruiting volunteers to tell their stories, promoting and publicizing the Tennessee Stories Project website, submitting guest columns, letters to the editor and offering unique action steps for website visitors based on the objectives of your organization.
What do partners get out of it?
Partners get the opportunity to help eliminate abortion stigma in Tennessee.
Is Planned Parenthood sponsoring the Tennessee Stories Project?
Yes. Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi has paid for the development and online security for the Tennessee Stories Project website. This legal responsibility requires storytellers to sign releases upon submitting their stories.
Is this a list-building opportunity for organizations?
No. No one that contacts the Tennessee Stories Project through the website will be shared on any organizational email list, including Planned Parenthood. The Tennessee Stories Project is committed to protecting storytellers’ private information from solicitation in order to instill confidence in participating with the project.