Stigma lies at the heart of many barriers to accessing abortion care. Not only does it drive abortion seekers to choose secret, unsafe options over safer options, but it also restricts service provision and availability of medical abortion and rewards policymakers who limit access through restrictive laws and policies. Too often, advocacy to enact laws and policies to expand access to safe abortion is not matched with concurrent efforts to build public support, in part by addressing negative individual-level attitudes and reducing stigma.
In 2022, PSI piloted a novel approach to reduce abortion stigma through storytelling. PSI partnered with 13 nano- and micro-social media influencers in Lagos, Nigeria, training them to craft and promote their personal testimonies explaining why they believe abortion seekers should be supported and not stigmatized. The stories were grounded in narrative strategies based on emerging global evidence about how to better talk about this issue. The stories were framed in values that appeal to new audiences, and the storytellers modeled the change that was desired in the audience.