The Abortion Monologues: Storytelling As a Tool for Reproductive Justice

Kentucky is one of seven states with only one remaining abortion clinic. But as reproductive freedoms continue to be challenged on a national stage, our state is positioned to become the very first without a clinic. In response to increased political pressure, local organizing remains as a critical component in the fight for bodily autonomy. The Abortion Monologues is a grassroots theater project dedicated to lifting up the voices of those with abortion-related experiences. Our objective of normalizing open discourse about abortion is achieved through community-based storytelling and exploration of reproductive justice issues that affect diverse populations across the state of Kentucky. We have successfully organized, written, and presented six unique stories that highlight the struggles of obtaining an abortion from Kentuckians who have endured the process of obtaining safe, legal healthcare. Many of our stories come from those who have direct ties to Appalachian Kentucky and their stories reflect the unique struggles that come with intersections of class, identity, and gender. This workshop will examine the process of building community around the project with special emphasis on stories from rural Kentucky and barriers to participation. We’ll also examine reproductive justice as a framework for storytelling, explore foundational pathways in grassroots theater, and exchange ideas for organizing around abortion in greater Appalachia.