Storyteller Kristen Morley on using virtual reality to tell her abortion story

Storyteller Kristen Morley on using virtual reality to tell her abortion story

In post-Roe America, educating ourselves about reproductive health care is more important than ever. We need to understand what abortion care is, what it looks like, that unhealthy pregnancies exist, and that abortion care is health care. A 3D version of me was created for The Choice, an interactive Virtual Reality documentary by director Joanne Popinska and her team. Surrounded by art and music, I hold a conversation with each audience member about why I needed to access abortion care at 21 weeks pregnant. 

Viewers are forced to “walk a mile in my moccasins” by wearing a headset and using toggles to navigate the documentary as I describe my relationship with my partner, our decision to get pregnant, and how people with unhealthy pregnancies are treated in Texas.

In 2017, Texas introduced HB25, which would have allowed doctors to lie about fetal abnormalities. Although the bill didn’t become law, it encouraged doctors like mine to lie. My story is about more than just abortion care. This story is about the intersectionality of discrimination, and specifically anti-Indigenous racism, ableism, medical malpractice, and internalized misogyny. I have desperately shouted my abortion care story, sacrificing my own happiness and safety so that more people can that understand abortion is health care. 

The more I share my story, the more people I meet who have used abortion care and never realized it. I met a mother who underwent dilation and curettage, but was never told that was abortion care. These doctors never presented their treatment as abortion care, but their insurance called it abortion. Even more confusing, neither the insurance nor the doctor considered their treatment as abortion care and patients went on with their lives unaware. Storytelling has always been the best tool for learning and the more we educate ourselves, the stronger we’ll be at fighting against fascism. 

Don’t waste my sacrifice and expect me to do this on my own, please share stories like mine and get involved.