#ShoutYourAbortion Rejects Stigma

In a perfect world, everyone would have access to the healthcare they need. In a perfect world, no one would be ashamed of seeking needed medical care. In a perfect world, reproductive health would be universally considered to be healthcare full stop.

We don’t live in a perfect world. That’s why #ShoutYourAbortion is so powerful.

The hashtag was started this week by Lindy West, Amelia Bonow, and Kimberly Morrison. The idea is to give people who have had abortions a chance to take back the conversation about the procedure. Millions of people have had an abortion since the 1970s, and yet we rarely hear from those people. There is a reason for that. As West explained in her column in The Guardian on the need for the hashtag:

The fact that even progressive, outspoken, pro-choice feminists feel the pressure to keep our abortions under wraps to speak about them only in corners, in murmurs, in private with our closest confidantes means that opponents of abortion get to define it however suits them best. They can cast those of us who have had abortions as callous monstrosities, and seed fear in anyone who might need one by insisting that the procedure is always traumatic, always painful, always an impossible decision. Well, were not, and its not. The truth is that life is unfathomably complex, people with uteruses own their bodies unconditionally, and every abortion story is as unique as the person who lives it. Some are traumatic, some are even regretted, but plenty are like mine.

It seems so obvious once someone says it out loud. Of course being shamed into silence can only help the anti-choice cause. Silence is what allows something to be demonized and seen as monolithic. We’ve seen it a million times before, perhaps most famously in the LGBT movement. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the public started to be more accepting of gay rights as more gay men and lesbians found the tremendous courage to come out of the closet.

Abortion is unlike any other medical procedure, not because it’s somehow inherently different (it’s not) but because of the stigma attached to it. Like so many things having to do with women’s bodies, it is to be kept quiet. Even in defending organizations like Planned Parenthood, it’s like second nature to start by emphasizing all of the non-abortion services they provide. Cancer screenings and STD testing are good services to provide, but so is abortion. Abortion is a social good, not just for people who are pregnant and don’t want to be, but for society at large. It turns out that being able to plan when you get pregnant and how often can have a real impact on how much education you can receive and how economically productive you can be, as well as benefiting your mental health and the health and well-being of future children. Abortion is part of the gamut of reproductive health care and there is no shame in it.

This is why #ShoutYourAbortion is so important. In a society where it is not unheard of to have congressional hearings on contraception without the participation of one woman, it’s vitally important that women and others who need reproductive health services take back the megaphone and tell our stories.

 

Photo Credit: Debra Sweet

86 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Janis K.
Janis K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey1 years ago

John h- you are a bigot. Abortion is no more murder than Is the monthly loss of an egg fertilized or not in menstruation.
I would be interested to see what choice you would make if your partner was carrying a damaged baby, or one conceived in rape from another man. Would you happily rear that child, alone if need be, if the mother could or would not?

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey1 years ago

John h- you are a bigot. Abortion is no more murder than Is the monthly loss of an egg fertilized or not in menstruation.
I would be interested to see what choice you would make if your partner was carrying a damaged baby, or one conceived in rape from another man. Would you happily rear that child, alone if need be, if the mother could or would not?

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson1 years ago

@ john h---If Abortion is MURDER than MASTURBATION IS GENOCIDE!!! Sperm is alive and millions of little Babies are being killed! Spilling your seed--- NOW That is actually in the Bible YOU TWIT!

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Carole L.
Carole L1 years ago

Donn M
“Mary B., yes your body belongs to you and you should decide what to do with it. Get a tattoo, drive without a seatbelt, go helmetless on a motorcycle, sell a kidney, get silicone implants, kill yourself, it's your body. Choosing to kill someone else through an abortion, your own child no less, is the utmost in selfish brutality.”

yes, and war is a fawnky bali hi. You must 'love' Bush/Cheney and the other war hawks. How do you feel about flesh and blood children, or are you only concerned with the unborn?

john c
“Please lets say it for what it is,MURDER on demand.”

Such as when a woman having a miscarriage enters a hospital and they refuse to provide abortion because only fetuses matter, and she dies. McCain singing; “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” when Bush/Cheney bombed, invaded, occupied Iraq? Sent troops to Afghanistan etc. Or in your pov are only abortions murder on demand?

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Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle1 years ago

Healthcare is a right. And no one should be able to tell anyone what they can or can't do with their own body. If the supposed pro-life people were really serious about protecting fetus's they would be working for social justice and reproductive freedom.

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Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly1 years ago

And then there are the plain ,dumb,ignorant.19 and counting. Evil. What a cituation .For reels? "Take the weal Hesus 'cus I 'm two dam lazy to larn to drive."

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