Last night I was reminded, once again, why listening to and telling stories is so powerful and important. The Story Collider brought together a group of five women to tell very human stories about a charged topic, abortion. Two of the storytellers are members of Doctors Without Borders and shared chilling, harrowing, but ultimately uplifting tales about what it’s like to tend to womens’ health needs in war zones and underserved communities around the world.
The rest of us told stories about our own experiences with having an abortion. And, perhaps surprisingly, there was a lot of laughter. Co-host Erin Barker noted that in the media the people most loudly talking about this issue are men and those who don’t agree with Roe v. Wade. Which is why they wanted to showcase the stories of women who were personally touched by the issue.
I shared a story about my own decision to end a pregnancy at 19, and the rift it caused with my mother. I am not a political activist. I am not brave enough to wear a flak jacket to tend to women in a war zone. But I am always willing to share my stories, to give the world a glimpse into the human reasons why I make the decisions I make. And I’m reminded, once again, of this wonderful quote by storyteller and poet Naomi Shihab Nye, “People can reject your opinions, they can reject your politics, but they can’t reject your stories.”