ABORT n' GO: Designing for women’s right to an autonomous abortion

Cristine Sundbom


ABORT ‘n GO is a design project within the crossing boundaries of critical design and industrial design. The aim of this project was to investigate and problematise the contemporary discourse on abortion in Sweden by using design as a discussion tool. (Sundbom, 2009) The design concept, a home a abortion product, is based upon conducted in-depht interviews and a study by Anneli Kero. (2005) Keros study concludes that 67%, ie. the majority of women felt a relief after the abortion, but that they didn’t feel free to express positive feelings. (Kero, 2005) The abortion discourse in Sweden is problematic since it’s infected by double norms that may cause feelings of guilt and shame by women having an abortion. The abortion right is built upon conflicting standpoints; one is that women have right to have an abortion, without being questioned. Second is the notion that abortion is something that should be avoided, implying that you’ve done something wrong if you have had an abortion. (Socialstyrelsen, 2005, Bacchi, 1999)

With the home abortion design concept I wanted to explore and discuss the possibility of women having full autonomy over an abortion, ie. their own bodies. By combing insight from the interviews with the sketching process, a compliant and non threatening form was developed. The user interaction with the form carries haptic qualities, since the procedure position makes it difficult to rely on a visual interface. Since the purpose was to initiate a discussion on abortion, an interactive graffiti wall was included in the concept, encouraging visitors at the Konstfack Spring Exhibition to participate in the discussion. The comments from the wall were later included to the design concept in a sound installation produced in collaboration with Niklas Sandberg for the Design Biennale in St Etienne. (http://www.biennale2010.citedudesign.com/download/Pour_les_experts.pdf, p.4) (https://soundcloud.com/reclaim-the-tant/abort-ngo-produced-by)

Full Text: