We spoke with artist and podcaster Rachel Cairn about her podcast, Aborsh. This podcast discusses Rachel’s own experiences with abortion as well as covering discussions with experts and activists about what abortion looks like in Canada today.
What is your business called and what does it do?
As an artist, I write, perform and direct stories that explore the human condition and seek to tap into the universal spirit that connects us all. As a producer and creator, I connect with artists to help them realize their vision and how to harness their multi-disciplinary talents and skills to create momentum in their careers. Aborsh, my latest venture, is a podcast that seeks to normalize abortion by holistically exploring reproductive choice and revealing the many factors and systems that inform (and often dictate) people’s decisions.
What made you want to do this work?
I had an abortion in 2019 and many events along that journey made me pause to ask ‘why is it like this?’ Examples of that are: my doctor not referring me to a provider, my Mom not telling me about her abortions until I had my own, and the receptionists at the clinic sheltered behind bulletproof glass. I also had a lot of conflicting feelings about my abortion. I don’t mean indecision about the choice to have an abortion, that decision was very simple and straightforward. I had a lot of feelings about the circumstances around that decision that made me question my career, my relationship, the history of reproductive rights, our current political landscape, and where we need to go to improve access so we can all realize true reproductive freedom.
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
I want to contribute to solving the problem of abortion and reproductive rights being siloed as an isolated controversial “issue”. Abortion is often discussed in relation to its opposition, rather than to the lived experiences of people who decide to end a pregnancy. By sharing abortion stories I hope to broaden our frame of reference to understand how reproductive decisions are informed by societal issues facing Canadians like affordable housing and childcare, the wage gap and employment equity, comprehensive healthcare, and how society needs to support people in becoming parents and having families.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
The podcast audience is predominantly female, Canadian, between the ages of 18 and 34… but lots of people tune in. Folks from different generations and communities have reached out to share their abortion stories or how the podcast resonated with them.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
A lot of work in the arts is supported by grant funding and some of my work is, but particularly podcasting requires connecting with and serving an audience, and as you build a following opportunities arise like creating advertising revenue.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
Wherever you get your podcasts, on-screen and online. I also teach in the media studies department at George Brown College, and in November I’ll be on stage at the Tarragon, acting in a Hannah Moscovitch play.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
Q: What makes you do what you do?
A: I think artists have an innate need to create. It’s important for me to allow my curiosity and passions to inform my work and stretch me to grow.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is learning about the world, meeting amazing experts and activists, and having other people share their stories with me or tell me how the podcast affected them.
The worst part is the uncertainty, the relentless rejection, and worrying if people will actually listen to the thing you’ve spent years making.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
How many actors does it take to change a light bulb? One. They don’t like to share the spotlight.
What are your social media channels?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love
Cleo and Method and Motion. As a creator, both of these companies have been key collaborators on this project and brought skills to the table that I do not have. Their support, know-how, and positive vibes have been invaluable. I cannot recommend them highly enough.