Laia Abril at Recontres d’Arles



This harrowing exhibition highlights the inhumanity involved with abortion issues around the world. Laia Abril has made extensive research surrounding personal experiences of women and abortion and visualised her findings using photography. Below I will give you an insight into some of the issues she raises. Featuring real life stories from women across the globe Abril gives women a voice in an area where they are often dismissed, treated abhorrently and judged. And this is happening today. Some of the stories feel as if they belong in the history books but the worrying truth is that they are current. I hope this type of work starts to improve awareness and therefore have an impact on women’s rights on a political and worldwide scale.

The below story may trigger some readers.


Today, safe and efficient means of abortion exist, yet 47000 women die due to botched abortions, every year. Millions of unwilling women across countries and religions are blocked from abortion technologies by law and social coercion, and forced to carry pregnancies to term. Many are minors and rape victims, their pregnancy is not viable or their health is at risk. Laia Abril’s project “On abortion” documents and conceptualizes these dangers and damages caused by women’s lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion. As she weaves her net of questions around ethics and morality, Abril also creates a series of meditative visual and textual manifestations of the social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have remained invisible until now.


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Above and below: Some of the instruments used by women who are desperate to have an abortion but denied by the state and resort to taking matters into their own hands – often resulting in death or serious illness.



A hot bath is a common myth that will help induce miscarriage. 



Personal accounts of the stories of abortion told by women in difficult situations, including long distances travelled in a disturbed mental state, physical pain and emotional turmoil with limited to no support.






A particularly disturbing part of the exhibit included a ‘deathwall’ featuring photographs of the faces of women’s faces who had died as a result of botched abortions.



A mug shot and wanted poster for a suspected doctor who illegally performed abortions.

The book, publish by Dewi Lewis will be released at the beginning of 2017. See more on Laia’s website here.






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