If you have a Twitter account, or if you’ve been keeping your eye on the news for the past few weeks, then there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the #IHadAnAbortion trend. #IHadAnAbortion, started by @IAmDrTiller (aka Steph), is a hashtag in which women who have had abortions can come out and share their abortion stories. It’s a way for women who have had abortions to say “Antis, your shaming tactics will not work on us. We will not back down and shut up.”
Some people claim that #IHadAnAbortion is “oversharing”. It makes me wonder, is tweeting about pregnancy oversharing? Is tweeting about birth oversharing? If not, then what makes tweeting about abortion oversharing? Having an abortion is a personal decision, true. Going through a pregnancy is also a very personal decision. Neither decision is a bad one, and in neither situation should a woman be shamed into silence. With abortion being as common as it is, there is no reason that someone simply speaking about it should be shamed into silence.
Those participating in #IHadAnAbortion (save for the misogynists who try to hijack the hashtag) are helping women overcome silence. They’re sending out the message that those who abort are not evil, they’re not uncommon, they don’t all feel the same way, and most of all, that they are not alone. I feel that #IHadAnAbortion has accomplished this and more. #IHadAnAbortion has inspired so many people to come out with their stories and to help end the silence. Of course, our work is not done. It’s not like the #IHadAnAbortion hashtag will make all misogyny and abortion-shaming go away, but it does help. Abortion-shamers will continue to try to put women back in their place by screaming over their voices, but pro-choicers can not let them succeed, because, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”