Over the weekend I watched something excellent happen online—something so inspiring I can only compare it to witnessing the launch of Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project. I already knew that two Seattle women, Amelia Bonow and Kimberly Morrison, were compiling stories for a new project informally called the "Abortion Zine." I knew this because I was going to submit my story. Then on Saturday, Amelia shared her story on Facebook, with a new hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion
After writer Lindy West tweeted this same post with the new hashtag, the stories started pouring in. "Within just a few hours," says Amelia. This morning, MTV News compiled a collection of the #ShoutYourAbortion tweets. Then around noon, BuzzFeed published "Women Are Challenging The Abortion Stigma."
I called Amelia to get more details. "#ShoutYourAbortion isn’t just my thing, or Lindy or Kimberly's thing," she told me, "It is a thing that many, many women are using to take back a conversation which should have been ours all along."
"Many" women indeed. Salon.com wrote yesterday, ONE IN THREE…
Amelia continued, "Even amongst liberal, feminist women and their communities, our abortions are still often whispered about and never publicly addressed. The conversation around women’s reproductive freedom was successfully high-jacked ages ago by the anti-choice movement, who have skewed dialogue towards a misogynistic definition of morality and a debate over whether or not cells have more rights than fully formed human beings.
But the center of this discourse must be women. Access to abortion means protecting a woman’s right to her own physical autonomy and reproductive process. The fact that so many women like myself have been relatively quiet about our decisions to end unwanted pregnancies indicates that the campaign to stigmatize abortion and the women who end their unwanted pregnancies has been successful. Even loud ass women like me, who know much better than to believe our abortions make us sluts or murderers have colluded with our silence."
Its time to end the silence. If you have a story to share, or you're a human who might feel less shame by reading the collective experience of others, please go look at #ShoutYourAbortion right now. Writer Lesley Hazleton is also collecting stories. Watch SLOG for news of another new video project, launching this October.
UPDATE: On a related note, please help The Stranger's fundraiser campaign for the Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman. The deadline is this Friday, September 25th at noon.