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Roxy Theater

The Roxy Theater

MISSOULA -- One woman got hate mail after she wrote publicly about her abortion.

"If I see you, I will do what you did to your unborn baby. You deserve to die for bragging about your abortion. All baby killers deserve to die," the letter said.

One in three women will have the medical procedure in their lifetime, and on Thursday, University of Montana students will perform a play based on people's real abortion stories. "Out of Silence" is free, and it shows at 7 p.m. in the Roxy Theater, 718 S. Higgins Ave.

Bronte Burnette, a UM senior who plays the author and recipient of the letter quoted above, said the play intends to reach past the politics of abortion to the people it affects. The six vignettes include stories from a mother and daughter, a couple, a woman and a stranger, and supportive friends.

"Whether or not people agree with abortion, there are women in your lives having them, and people need to hear these stories," Burnette said.

No one woman's decision is the same, she said.

The play is part of the "1 in 3 Campaign," a project of Advocates for Youth, according to a news release from UM.

"Advocates for Youth is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion that uses storytelling to end the stigma around abortion care in America and to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal and affordable," the release stated.

Molly Taft, helping college advocates around the country through BerlinRosen, said now is the time for conversations about abortion because many states are restricting it. BerlinRosen is a communication and engagement firm, and Taft is based in Washington, D.C.

On the national front, she said, the U.S. Supreme Court is on the brink of deciding whether to hear a case that would affect Roe v. Wade, which protects the medical privacy of women.

"But we don't hear a lot of personal stories in the national abortion debate," Taft said.

Last year, more than 100 women shared their stories at a speak-out in Washington, D.C., and their stories are reflected in "Out of Silence." After the play in Missoula, audience members will be invited to share their own stories, Burnette said.

"Talking about abortion gets pretty political really quick, and people forget that it's about women, it's about people in our community that are choosing to have this procedure and choosing to do this," Burnette said.

The play is hosted by the UM Women's Resource Center and Blue Mountain Clinic. 

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University of Montana, higher education