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Debbie Rasiel

Mapping Abortion, 2022
Digital composite
10" x 15"

Mapping Abortion

Composite of Coney Island Aquarium tanks, online map, online images of sonograms: In combining these elements I hope to convey a country hopelessly
divided by internal borders, reproductive rights, and geographic locations. The aquarium photos add to the illusion of amniotic fluid and the texture of a storm. The map with the red spidery roads, like blood vessels, is to create movement and connection.
The Subject:

In her essay, “Travel for Abortion as a Form of Migration,” Amy Reed-Sandoval argues for abortion seekers within the US to be understood as a kind of migrant rather than a commuter or a traveler to remove the normative connotation for these seekers. There are inherent risks for undocumented people who pass through states with closer scrutiny, people of color who confront areas of increased prejudice, and for those whose health is at risk. She and I both acknowledge, lumping the undocumented and everyone else into a single group under the term “migrant,” is not intended to be a literal comparison, but a philosophical one. Understanding those who travel for abortion care as “migrants” creates needed conceptual space for exploring philosophically how gestating bodies are Othered by various types of immigration restrictions. Indeed, abortion-related restrictions on mobility deny agency to pregnant people and may keep them behind closed doors.
Republican States, most recently Missouri, are writing legislation to prevent interstate travel. Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society, a conservative public interest law firm, said that “no one should be entitled to the procedure just because they’ve crossed state lines. Gloria
Anzaldua, a Latinx, feminist scholar noted, in her book about US/ Mexico, Borderlands/ La Frontera. “Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe to distinguish us from them.” Post Roe v Wade our country’s border has fractured. We are a nation housing temporary abortion migrants, crossing borders to find safe and legal abortions.
- Debbie Rasiel on Mapping Abortion