On September 19, Seattle-based activist Amelia Bonow decided to start talking publicly about her abortion. In reaction to Congress’ recent vote to defend Planned Parenthood, Bonow took to Facebook to share her story along with the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion.
This then encouraged others to do the same and shortly after, it made its way over to Twitter and the tweets came flooding in. People have been sharing a variety of reasons for having an abortion from finding out their fetuses had life-ruining physical defects, they had abusive partners or simply because they didn’t want to have children and their birth control failed. The hashtag trended almost immediately and of course, gained instant controversy.
Instead of celebrating women sharing their stories, a lot of people seem to be caught up on the “Shout” aspect. I saw many tweets full of disgust for the hashtag because it felt too celebratory – I even engaged with some too. It felt as though many struggled to see the point of the hashtag. The opposite of shout is whisper; #ShoutYourAbortion is about reducing silence and ending stigma. If it’s celebrating anything, it’s women having control of their own bodies.
I have also seen some people say they are pro-choice but don’t feel comfortable seeing people discuss their abortions online, which still shames women.
I have found many people who are pro-life often fail to see the bigger picture. If you really are pro-life, surely you care about the lives of women who aren’t ready for a baby? Surely you care about the underage women who are sexually abused and are at risk if they give birth? Surely you care about the women who simply cannot love their child if it’s a result of rape or an unwanted pregnancy in general?
Like Amelia Bonow said on Facebook, “Why wouldn’t I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?” Abortion is the right choice, as long as it’s your choice.
Every woman’s voice is a victory, which is why I wholeheartedly support #ShoutYourAbortion.