The Museum of Contraception and Abortion (MUVS), a non-profit association registered in Vienna, Austria, runs this website with photos on the topic of abortion and is aimed at all interested photographers, professionals and amateurs. The MUVS decided to organise this initiative because of the severe lack of good photographic material for journalists and media to use when covering this important although emotional and controversial issue.
Most commonly, the media resort to pictures of women in the final stage of pregnancy, or to ultrasound of rare late-term foetuses, and even to graphic pictures of late-term aborted foetuses. Alternatively, pictures of religiously-motivated political actions can be found. We also see pictures of women staring in despair at a pregnancy test or their (forgotten) birth control pills. The perception of women with an unwanted pregnancy is completely omitted in most reports, namely that an abortion represents the (best) solution from the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy.
The types of pictures mentioned above all project a wrong impression of abortion and the circumstances and interests of women affected by unwanted pregnancy. This false or rather distorted view can get further intrumentalised by moralising arguments that undergird the propaganda of religiously-motivated fundamentalists and activists. In this way, such pictures ultimately impede an objective, solution-oriented approach to the topics of unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
The goal of this initiative is to create a free photo collection for media and/or public use. The collection would actualise the living conditions of unintentionally pregnant women (or couples) and sensibly and creatively deal with the delicate issues of unwanted pregnancy and/or abortion.
Creating photos that get beyond the negative, religiously based ideology that surrounds abortion represents a challenge to the photographer´s imagination and requires a strong interest in the matter. In socio-political terms, the intended contest outcome will be a contribution against the stigmatisation and criminalisation of abortion and towards an evidence-based and women-centred discussion about it.
The majority of abortions are performed before the eighth week of pregnancy if women have unrestricted access, many of them taking place even before week six, when only the amniotic sac can be seen, no embryo. Women may opt for abortion when they decide on their own or together with their partner that they cannot provide responsible care for a(nother) child`s life in their current living conditions and partner situation.
We should always bear in mind that most women who decide to have an abortion already have one or more children, and make up their minds based on their knowledge and experiences of motherhood – they know what it takes and they may need to prioritize their existing children. In such cases, abortion becomes a real and ethical solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy.