NYC writer and artist Leah Hayes frequently uses art as her preferred medium for expressing challenging and painful experiences. When she decided to write about the hard decision of abortion in her book Not Funny Ha-Ha: A Handbook for Something Hard,?it was only natural for her to present the complicated concept of medical and surgival abortions via?a comic.
No, it’s not funny — and that wasn’t her goal.
?I felt like I had something to ?say? about what having an abortion looks like, and drawing is really my way of telling that story,? Hayes told BuzzFeed Life in an email.
?The format might be unconventional, [but] I still want to convey a feeling of comfort and openness, while also conveying the weight of the topic,? Hayes said.
She rightly believes that her illustrations give another perspective on abortion, especially the difference in medical abortion and surgical abortion. They also helped her process her own feelings on the issue.
She’s right. Here is an embarrassing truth: I didn’t know the difference between medical abortion and surgical abortion until I read the BuzzFeed article.
I’m a staunch advocate for women, of course, but I’ve never had an abortion or personally helped someone through the process, so I didn’t know the difference.
Not Funny Ha-Ha: A Handbook for Something Hard?uses two fictional women to illustrate the abortion experience. One character undergoes a medical abortion via a medication taken at home, and the other has a hospital procedure. Says Hayes:
?Writing this book was not intended to lighten the subject of abortion, define ?right or wrong,? or make it trivial in any way,? Hayes said.
?I hope lots of women and men get to read it: I do mean it to be for everybody,? said Hayes. ?I’d like people to see it as one illustrator’s interpretation of something very complicated and important.?
This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is considering surgical or medical abortion or helping someone who is.
See the screenshots from the book below.