BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A special exhibit in Binghamton this month is encouraging people to share their stories about abortion.
Focus on Abortion was created by San Francisco photographer Roslyn Banish.
It’s opening at the Cooperative Gallery on State Street on Friday.
The images are accompanied by individual stories of their abortions or how abortion has impacted their lives.
The show, which has an accompanying hard cover book, is presented by Gallery member Peg Johnston.
Johnston founded Southern Tier Women’s Services, an abortion provider in Vestal, in 1981.
She says she’s dedicated her career to listening to the women seeking an abortion.
“It’s a normal event. About 23% to 25%, maybe higher, of all women of reproductive age have had an abortion. It’s not an uncommon event at all. Yet, we don’t have the freedom or ability to talk about it at a time when we really should be talking about it. Not only politically, nationally, but also if you were in a position where you need an abortion, it would be nice to say ‘Oh I had one, this is what you can expect,’ that kind of thing. But we’re cut off from the support that we usually have because of the stigma of abortion.”
In addition, Johnston has helped to create Shift, a new organization advocating for reproductive rights.
It aims to create new , safe spaces for civil discourse about abortion.
The group plans educational workshops, online discussions, newsletters and possibly a book club.
The effort is being funded by the Community Foundation of South Central New York and intends to engage people from across the region.
Sign-ups are at binghamtonbridge.org.
Focus on Abortion will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. for First Friday and then Fridays 5 to 8 and Saturdays 11 to 3 for the remainder of the month.