Melissa Madera, The Abortion Diary

One in every three women in The United States will experience an abortion by her 45th birthday. The majority of those women will never speak about their abortion experiences, and very few people will ever hear their stories. Thirteen years after her abortion, Melissa Madera’s personal story and its impact on those around her inspired her to create The Abortion Diary with the intention of ending the stigma and isolation surrounding the experience.

Melissa is traveling across the USA listening to and capturing diverse abortion experiences. She feels her role is to receive people’s stories with openness so that they can process their experiences and release a story that has gone untold for months, years or even decades. “I think that there is so much power in the vulnerability of both sharing and listening,” says Melissa, “and the world would be a more compassionate place if we listened to each other without judgments and with empathy.”

The Abortion Diary is a podcast for story-sharing and story-listening, and used as a means of communication and connection. Melissa has traveled to fourteen states and listened to and recorded over 150 people bravely share their stories. Currently, 115 can be listened to online. In the next stage of the project, some of the story-sharers will become story-listeners in their own communities allowing them to feel less isolated as well as humanizing an experience that is overly politicized. This Grant will allow Melissa to expand the project by involving more people in the story-listening process. She will buy 10 recorders, teach story-listeners all aspects of recording for the podcast, and facilitate workshops and community gatherings focusing on story-listening and community building.

For more information on The Abortion Diary visit their Website, Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

GRANT AWARD DATE: September 18, 2015