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REVIEW: Oh God, A Show About Abortion

A one woman show about abortion somehow conjures up images of bra-burning feminism and hysterical women TV tropes. And yet, in light of the Roe v. Wade leaked draft, I found myself happily purchasing a ticket to the one woman show, Oh god, A Show about Abortion. On Saturday, May 14, I arrived knowing nearly nothing about the show other than that Anna Wintour was famously carded outside the theater just days before.

To my happy surprise, this show was exactly the mix of self-deprecating humor and existential feminism that I was looking for. Alison Leiby, a woman in her late 30s, recounts her decision to get an abortion just three years prior. She threads together the story with a mix of funny anecdotes and pithy commentary on being a woman in today’s America.

As part of the show, Leiby critiques the gap between male and female healthcare. She mentions that the majority of OBGYN offices do not perform abortions, and that birth control is marketed as more of a fun feminine product than actual medicine. She also mentions that even the everyday woman finds herself ashamed of her own reproductive health, noting that many women would rather say they have food poisoning than say they have their periods. She even remarks on how embarrassed she was to say the word abortion while on the phone with Planned Parenthood. It got me thinking about how I have no qualms when talking about my struggle with migraines openly, but I often keep my own reproductive health quiet and to myself. Perhaps having more open conversations with those around us can help normalize women’s medical needs, including birth control, and perhaps even abortions.

Leiby also talked about the longstanding binary for all women—mother or not mother. Female is the sex capable of carrying and reproducing life. And while that cannot happen without the help of a male’s sperm, somehow, once women reach their late 20s, they are branded mother or not mother. Leiby expertly observes that, as women, we lose all other identity, and simply become part of this binary. The part of the show that stuck with me the most was that throughout the whole hour, Leiby convinces us that she, as all women, exist outside this binary. However, it isn’t until she hears her own mother’s abortion story that she can see her mom outside of this binary she is working so hard to dismantle for herself and other women.

I’ll be honest. If you asked me two months ago, I don’t think the show would have had the same impact on me as it did today. The news of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade draft has forced me, along with many other women, to think, talk and fight for our rights. This show felt like we were continuing that important conversation, with a side of comedy.

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