#ShoutYourAbortion Campaign Battles Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

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Senate Republicans this week introduced a spending bill designed to avert another government shutdown this December but also containing a plan to defund Planned Parenthood. According to the Washington Post, “The measure will almost certainly fail when it comes up for a procedural vote on Thursday as Democrats are expected to object to both the defense funding increase and the effort to strip funds from the embattled women’s health organization.”

In the meantime, however, #ShoutYourAbortion, a hashtag campaign, has sprung up online in response to the bill. The campaign encourages women to tell the stories of their abortions online, and began when writer and activist Lindy West became inspired by her friend Amelia Bonow’s story of her abortion that she posted on Facebook. (West, in other news, was the subject of a viral This American Life episode wherein she told her story of being the victim of an Internet troll who posed as her dead father online).

West explains, via The Guardian, her decision to create 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.

These are some of the messages the campaign inspired:

Of course, given the controversial nature of the issue, the campaign was not without its backlash. “Abortion does not make you unpregnant,” wrote one user, in a widely circulated tweet, “it makes you the parent of a dead child.”

Earlier this week, Senate Democrats blocked a bill by Republicans to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The Senate will vote on the funding bill tomorrow, Thursday the 24th.

Image / Wikimedia Commons

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