I’m Pro-Choice, So Why Does #ShoutMyAbortion Make Me Squirm?

No one needs a recap of the Planned Parenthood battle. What started as a reaction to the alleged selling of fetal organs has exploded into yet another debate about the morals of abortion. The internet is a shitstorm, and as usual, the commenters are completely missing the point. Those who want to defund focus only on their belief that abortion is evil, and do not heed the fact that Planned Parenthood is about a lot more: birth control, STD/STI testing and treatment, and even cancer screenings. But none of that matters when you’re dealing with an enraged activist with a cause.

It seems like an impossible task to shut up the Pro-Lifers, but a group of women took to Twitter to try. Their goal was to humanize the issue, to give a face and a reason to the act of abortion using one hashtag: #shoutmyabortion. By making the issue personal rather than general, the women were showing that the procedure has positive effects on real lives, not negative effects on lives that haven’t started.

The Tweets weren’t gory, but I flinched as I reading through them. And I felt bad about it. Despite my pro-choice stance, I didn’t want to hear the details. I should have been retweeting to support the cause rather than fighting the urge to close my browser window. Why did I feel this way?

“The campaign to defund Planned Parenthood relies on the assumption that abortion is something to be whispered about,” said one of the hashtag’s creators, Amelia Bonow. No one wants to get one, and no one says when they do. The people who tend to talk the most about it are those who have had the least experience: no Pro-Life man has had an abortion, or even had to consider having an abortion. Girls I know who have don’t talk about it, or if they do they spare the details. That’s why it made me squirm to see people tweeting their abortions for their friends, families, ex-boyfriends and the rest of the world to see. This act lives behind closed doors, which it shouldn’t. 

For me, the hashtag did its job: it took the stigma away from talking about abortion. I know because the second time I looked at the Tweets, I felt only sympathy. It’s a medical procedure, not a moral issue. There’s no shame there, and so why not talk about it? Why keep it as a looming moral debate when in reality it’s a medical procedure. If you can talk about your knee surgery in public, why not talk about your abortion?

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