Abortion is not just a straight women's issue
Dark feminist comedy, A Womb Of One's Own, is based on Claire Rammelkamp's own experience of abortion while in a queer relationship
A Womb Of One's Own
One of the many practical advantages of being in a lesbian relationship is that I no longer panic when my period arrives late. This is especially comforting given that I once had a late period which did, in fact, turn out to be a pregnancy.
Being young, half-way through a degree, and pro-choice, the only logical thing to do was to have an abortion, but I wasn't prepared for how isolating the experience turned out to be.
Though I never would have imagined it at the time, this became the inspiration for my dark comedy, A Womb of One's Own.
Above: Claire Rammelkamp.
It might seem like an unlikely subject for comedy, but I found the thing that got me through the rather lonely experience of having an abortion was maintaining a sense of humour about it.
There remains a stifling silence around abortion. Even in the most liberal circles it's often something of a taboo, and the fact that people are so reluctant to discuss it in public means that emotional support can be difficult to find. We're hoping A Womb of One's Own will break the tension and kick-start some conversations.
The play follows an eighteen-year old student, Babygirl, on the emotional roller coaster of unwanted pregnancy during her first term at uni. I was lucky enough to have friends I could confide in, but the play explores what it would be like to have an abortion without any kind of support network.
Babygirl finds it especially tough because she's still trying to make friends and work out her identity. At the heart of the play is a fledgling queer relationship which gets interrupted when Babygirl finds out she's pregnant. Abortion isn't an issue which exclusively concerns straight women.
Above: The cast of A Womb Of One's Own.
Because people's perception of our sexuality is still so heavily determined by whoever our partner happens to be at the time, there is often some confusion over the fact I have a female partner and have also had an abortion. Conversations about abortion tend to be very heteronormative.
It's easy to see why, considering accidental pregnancy isn't a common occurrence in same-sex relationships, but by assuming that it's only a straight woman's narrative we put an extra barrier in place for queer women when it comes to opening up about their experience of abortion.
Statistically, one in three women in the UK will have an abortion at some point in their lives. It seems ridiculous to assume all of them would be straight.
Babygirl's queer identity is not the main focus of the play, but it was important to me to include that part of her character. I wanted to normalise Babygirl's relationship with a woman, just like I want to normalise abortion.
I hope more queer women will feel comfortable talking about their abortions after seeing the play and that it will do something to lift the stigma.
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