Daring to Remember: Tell Us Your Abortion Story

Ms. first ran the devastating photo of Gerri Santoro in 1973. (Scroll to the bottom of this article to see the photo. Warning: It’s bloody and may be upsetting for some viewers.) The photo quickly became a rallying cry, a stark reminder of what is at stake in the fight for legal abortion access. At the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, Joannie Santoro-Griffin reflected on her mother’s death, noting that the photo “symbolizes every women who died without choice.”

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s initial ruling in Roe v. Wade, we remembered Gerri and the women like her who had died from unsafe, illegal abortions. We declared: “Never again.”

We ran the photo again in 2016, after the election of Donald Trump—predicting that in the weeks, months and years to come, abortion access would become a battleground more hard-fought than ever. Unfortunately, we were right.

For too many women of my generation, a time before Roe feels like ancient history—but now, that history looms dangerously in the future. Almost five decades after Roe, we’re once again in the fight of our lives.

We must demand that women have bodily autonomy and control over their destinies. We must remind lawmakers that a majority of Americans support safe and legal abortion. We must remind the country what a nation without any safe, legal abortion access looks like. We must remind our lawmakers what women’s lives without abortion access look like—and the devastating ways in which an end to abortion access is an end to our freedom.

We must bring back to life the stories of women like Gerri, who died because they had no choice, and the thousands of women like her whose lives were forever altered because they didn’t, either.

“She was just one of countless women who died in this lonely and desperate way,” Gerri’s daughter said to the crowd in 2004. “They were all someone’s sister, daughter, mother or friend.”

Ms. is once again collecting stories from women who had abortions before Roe, or in this post-Roe world, or whose lives were forever changed because they could not—or the stories of those who didn’t survive to tell their own. We also want to amplify stories from today’s abortion landscape—stories of women who find themselves in abortion deserts because clinics are shuttering due to anti-abortion laws and/or anti-abortion violence, or stories of people crossing state and international borders just to take control over their futures.

These may not be our own stories. They may be the stories whispered to us by our old classmates, by our aunts and cousins. They may be the stories our families and neighbors have dared us to never tell. They may be the stories of our grandmothers, sisters, daughters, mothers and friends.

For too long, these stories have gone untold or been forgotten. Beginning today, we are daring to tell them.

We are daring to remember.

You can submit your story by emailing myabortionstory@msmagazine.com. Stories submitted may be posted online or in the magazine. Submissions are best if they are short—closer to one or three paragraphs, rather than full-length essays. We will share as many as we can, and we will continue to share them until we know that Roe is safe.

Read Our Abortion Stories.

U.S. democracy is at a dangerous inflection point—from the demise of abortion rights, to a lack of pay equity and parental leave, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and attacks on trans health. Left unchecked, these crises will lead to wider gaps in political participation and representation. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Amendment, and centering the stories of those most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we are redoubling our commitment for the next 50 years. In turn, we need your help, Support Ms. today with a donation—any amount that is meaningful to you. For as little as $5 each month, you’ll receive the print magazine along with our e-newsletters, action alerts, and invitations to Ms. Studios events and podcasts. We are grateful for your loyalty and ferocity.

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Carmen Rios is a self-proclaimed feminist superstar and the former digital editor at Ms. Her writing on queerness, gender, race and class has been published in print and online by outlets including BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, DAME, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic, the National Women’s History Museum, SIGNS and the Women’s Media Center; and she is a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. @carmenriosss|carmenfuckingrios.com