Muslim Writer Fariha Róisín grappled with the shame of her abortion for years.
“Being brown and also being Muslim, like, those two things combined—I just had this overwhelming sense of ‘it can’t be me,’” she explained “I did not understand that it was me. It was exactly who I was. It was exactly what I had done, and that accepting it and accepting all that came with it would actually be what frees me from it and frees me from the shame.”
Róisín says her first turning point came at age 19, a year after her abortion, during Umrah, a pilgrimage Muslims can make to Mecca at any time of the year.
“So much of what I was doing and saying while I was going around the Kaaba is, ‘God, forgive me,’” she explained. “And I felt forgiveness for the first time.”
Approximately 62% of abortion patients identify with some religious affiliation. What’s more, over 50% of Muslims in the U.S. surveyed by Pew said abortion should be legal in “all or most” cases.
Róisín writes often about identity, faith, queerness, body positivity, and mental health. She says she wrote about her abortion experience to increase the topic’s visibility among Muslims and South Asians.
“If you feel ashamed of who you are, you’re not gonna fight back, you know? You’re not gonna think too deeply about why you’re ashamed,” she said. “And when you can, like, accept that maybe sometimes oppositional parts of you, or the contradictory parts of you, that in that is, like, this act of self-love and act of, know if, incredible radicality.”