by Monika Dragojlovic, H.E.R.A
What I learned from our ‘It’s About You’ project is that fighting against any kind of stigma is a very hard task . In Macedonia we have this controversial abortion law that has negative impact on our society. So from a political point of view, changing the law would be enough to change the whole situation. But is that really enough? Changing the law would be the ultimate goal in our long journey to do so. But we have a long way to go.
In order to bust the stigma it is necessary to change public opinion. Our idea was to bring people together to talk. And it was important to find people with different backgrounds. This turns out to be very difficult task. People in general don’t feel comfortable to talk about these kinds of questions. But we think this is an important step. Why? Because by talking they might affect other people’s perceptions of abortion, in a community they belong to by the media. And then at the end the law can be changed. By shooting short videos we can work to achieve this goal. Stigma works on many levels at once, so there is a lot of work to do.
I learned that fighting against the system itself might not be the hardest part. Sure, the system is helping this process of stigmatizing abortion. We had this aggressive media campaign funded by the government, supporting pro-life views. Conservative values, lack of information and not having sex education seems like a winning combination for making pro-life views even more popular amongst people. So the hardest part is to change people’s mindset. Abortion is not murder but it is a human right.
Finally, I learned that abortion stigma affects all of us. In order to improve our situation we must raise our voices and speak out loud, not only about abortion but about every other issue we think matters.