Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My new favorite zinester: Merrydeath

I've been shopping at the local punk junk store (Happy Birthday Mike Leslie, where I also put a couple of handmade things up for sale), and I'm in love with the zine selection. (A bit of background: I didn't grow up in a city, so even after living in one for five years, I'm still getting used to the neat things a city has to offer, like access to underground punk stores and zines.)

I bought both issues of Mine: An Anthology of Women's Choices by Merrydeath Stern. Basically, both issues are collections of abortion stories. They are all pro-choice, but they all present abortion in a different light. Some women were relieved at the experience, some women were torn up emotionally (maybe not so much from the abortion but from the way they were treated), and some women were a combination of both.


Issue #1 had a lot of stories about medical abortion, and a surprising amount of stories about women who had successful abortions without going to clinics (through herbs or performed by midwives). I hadn't really looked into the herbal aspect before I picked up this zine, so afterwards I did my own research (on the internet, so it's a little sketchy) about emmenagogues and other herbs.


Issue #2 was different because Merrydeath tried to get more stories from women of color. The contributors for the first issue were apparently white, and they had better access to abortion services (even if the services were sub-par), so the author tried to get stories from poor women. I noticed that many women had heard about herbal abortions, but they didn't know any definite information. The main issues were illegal abortions and the lack of information on methods to try other than medical abortions (which are costly, and therefore inaccessible to the same people who can't afford birth control).

Both issues were only $2.00, and if you can't find them at your local zine shop, you can buy them online.

I really enjoyed both issues. First of all, they were put together really nicely, with Merrydeath providing a lot of the artwork and the layout (and she also talks about her own abortion in the first issue). Secondly, one thing most of the women had in common was that even though they had friends supporting them through the abortion, they didn't really have many women they could talk to about their own abortion experiences. I always hear about the debate between pro- and anti-choicers, but I never actually get to hear from the women themselves who have to go through this, so it was a refreshing perspective.

These weren't just stories about abortion. The women mostly told elaborate stories about their lives and events that were going on at the time of their pregnancies. The abortions themselves only lasted about 15 minutes, even though that was the main focus of each story.

No comments: