Women Take to Twitter, Declare "I Had an Abortion" In Face of New Anti-Choice Congress
Once upon a time, women signed an ad in Ms. Magazine to make the radical declaration that yes, they'd had abortions. Later, they said the same thing in front of documentary cameras.
Now--just as a frightening wave of extreme anti-choicers prepares to enter congress in January--they're doing it on Twitter.
A few days ago, the Twitter hashtag "Ihadanabortion" spread like wildfire, becoming a trending topic on the social media website, as woman after woman spoke to her own experiences with the procedure.
Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory captured some of the best responses early on,:
Almost half my life ago, #ihadanabortion. I'm not sorry. I've never been sorry. I will never be sorry. Just very, very grateful.
Yep, #IHADANABORTION.. more than one, now that I am ready I am now 7 months pregnant w/ my 2nd child...my body, my decision!
Those who are ANTI-choice shd B glad #ihadanabortion. I went on to finish college, support myself, marry ... have 2 honor students. Nice, huh?
#IHadAnAbortion @ 17 ... no one helped much; every1 tried to protect the dude's reputation. Yuk. Grateful I had the option. I vote #prochoice.
After Clark-Flory posted her story, even more voices chimed in using the hashtag:
After I told my mom #ihadanabortion she told me about hers>she told my Gma about both>Gma told about illegal AB
#ihadanabortion ≠"silencing" those w/regrets. i had regrets but it WAS the right decision. not mutually exclusive
Whenever these kinds of topics pop up on twitter, whether it's women tweeting about birth, abortion, or miscarriages there are always some people who get squeamish about publicizing or trivializing what they deem to be a personal moment. This is especially true when it comes abortion. Many folks don't want to be reminded that it happens.
But that's why we need to do it. The importance of this kind of defiant public reckoning with the issue of abortion can't be underscored enough. As the woman who started the hashtag, Steph Herold, who tweets as @iamdrtiller, explained, it's about ending the "stigma."
The reason anti-choice policies gain traction is that people assume it is an issue for other unknown women to deal with, not their friends and neighbors. "Coming out" about having had an abortion and seeing people around you admit that it's a part of their lives is a vital tool in the fight to keep abortion out of the shadows -- so it can be safe and legal at clinics.