Abortion tweets go viral

If you don’t have twitter you might not have seen the viral thread last week with the hashtag #Ihadanabortion. It was launched by @IAmDrTiller with the tweet: Time for us to come out. Who’s had an abortion? Show antis we’re not intimidated by scare tactics. Use: #ihadanabortion.

Controversial? Perhaps. Confrontational? Maybe. Consciousness-raising? Absolutely.

And it seems that tweetland is full of willing participants:

@LadyD224 Abstinence is not 100% effective against pregnancy, rapists don’t care if you’re abstinent. #prochoice #ihadanabortion

@stonermoog: #ihadanabortion and i am so grateful to #plannedparenthood for helping me when i needed them and was so scared.

@jenseals: When precautions failed #ihadanabortion It was the right decision & allowed me to provide for the child I already had.

I think it’s a bold message in a time when we need boldness. Reproductive rights are being attacked from all sides including extremely antichoice Republicans such as the presumed next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner. According to NARAL, there are 94 more antichoice members of the House than there are prochoice. And don’t be lulled into complacency simply because the economy is the biggest issue on Congress’ plate. Antichoice members of both houses will be looking to bring forward bills, according to NARAL. Just wait for the “Stupak on Steroids” bill which would not only ban coverage of abortions in the new government-funded health care system but would TAX individuals with coverage by private insurance. And look for an increase in “abstinence-only” education programs, which have been shown to be ineffective in numerous studies including some by the federal government and Congress.

It’s clear we need frank talk about abortion. For one thing, it helps ease the stigma associated with it. Like any bogey man, it becomes less scary when we open our eyes and turn on the lights. For another, it’s refreshing to hear from real women, in their own words, about their experiences. (Albeit in 140 character tweets, but still their own words.)

Part of what antichoice rhetoric relies on is reducing women to ignorant, faceless monsters without a soul. The antichoice narrative goes like this: You are having an abortion because you think it’s convenient and are taking the easy way out. You should not have been a slut. You hate families. You hate God. (And some other BS, but I can only write so much of that crap.) But the #Ihadanabortion thread clearly shows that so many of those who are speaking publicly are real women — many of them already mothers; many in committed relationships; smart, educated women who have plans for the future and who contribute to society. They don’t want to be on welfare, because they know they can’t afford to bring another child into their families, so they do what is best for their family. That seems like a really responsible thing. Not someone who wants an “easy” fix or who wants to suck on the teat of the government. So, all these #Ihadanabortion tweets show us the humanity, compassion and care of the women who made those decisions.

But, of course, the other side has been weighing in, too, with the #womendeservebetter thread.

@Justsnapd8#ihadanabortion DOES trivialize life. Choice kills living human babies, there is no honor in that, for anyone. #womendeservebetter
@belzilen#womendeservebetter than abortion, they deserve to be loved both mother and child

Interestingly, this thread almost proves my point. The antichoice reaction to #Ihadanabortion is not personal stories. It’s not something like, “Even though we already had 3 kids, I chose life.” I would actually be more inclined to want to have a conversation with a person like that. Instead, the reaction to women’s personal stories of choice is the same old rhetoric, objectification, denials, judgements and slogans. It’s pure negativity! For a group that often espouses a close connection to God and all things heavenly, they are a really negative, mean-spirited and graphically gory group.

I’m prochoice and I believe in God. I didn’t participate in the #Ihadanabortion thread because I have not ever needed an abortion. But if I had or ever do need it, I’m glad that option is there for me. And I know in my heart that the point of faith and a belief in God is not to use that faith to destroy others. We condemn the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades as brutality unchecked in the name of God. But the fear-mongering and pursuit of women and doctors who perform abortions is nothing more than a modern-day crusade. It’s a perversion of Christianity, just as the terrorists who flew planes into the Twin Towers on Sept. 11 were following a perversion of their faith. These hardcore antichoicers are domestic terrorists!

And you know what else? I find the hashtag #womendeservebetter to be insulting! You’re right, antichoice extremists! We do deserve better! We deserve to be treated like fully functioning members of society with full autonomy of our bodies and full use of our American rights! We deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, no matter our marital status, family makeup, sexuality, economic status, race, sexual appetite and activity (from abstinent to dominatrix) or whether we are the survivors or rape or incest. What women deserve is to have a voice and a choice! That’s what would be better.

PS: You can follow The Siren on twitter!

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