Women are sharing their abortion stories on social media in response to the state of Alabama’s vote to impose a near-total ban on the procedure.
Celebrities join the #youknowme online campaign, which aims to protect women’s right to access abortion, educate about the dangers of clandestine abortions and criticize the act of men who legislate on women’s bodies .
Talk show host and actress Busy Philipps shared her own abortion experience when she was 15 and called on other women to come forward with their stories to “end the shame” surrounding abortions. Her motivation behind the campaign is to show how common it is for women to terminate their pregnancies.
“One in 4 women have had an abortion. Lots of people think they don’t know someone who has, but #you know me,” the 39-year-old wrote in a Twitter post.
A day after its launch, nearly 50,000 people had liked or shared the post and nearly 2,000 users had posted responses, including deeply personal accounts of their own abortions.
The law change in Alabama amounts to a near total ban on abortion in the state. It will make it a crime to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy and punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison.
The only exception would be when the woman’s health is seriously threatened.
The bill contains no exceptions for rape and incest.
In theory, the legislation means a doctor who performs an abortion could go to jail longer than a rapist or sexual abuser of a family member.
Actress Milla Jovovich, who starred in Fifth Element and Resident Evil, said she had an emergency abortion after giving birth prematurely.
“It was one of the most horrifying experiences I have ever had,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
“I was alone and helpless. When I think about the fact that women might face abortions in even worse conditions than me because of the new laws, my stomach turns.”
Actress and politician Cynthia Nixon has said her mother had a “heartbreaking” clandestine abortion before the procedure was legalized and his wife also had an abortion.
“In 2010 my wife had a legal abortion after we found out her pregnancy was not viable,” she said.
“We cannot and will not return.”
Chewing Gum actress Susan Wokoma shared her experience and praised the NHS.
She said: “I got one. 2016. Discovered at 3 weeks. It was super weird but I was incredibly loved and supported by my friends, family and the amazing NHS.”
Wokoma, who is working on a film about women having abortions with NHS support, added: ‘Keep your hands off our fucking bodies.
British actor Jameela Jamil has said having an abortion as a child was the “best decision I’ve ever made”.
She said, “I hope the people of Alabama who want an abortion ban are willing to give their money and their space to the MEGA influx of children in need of care, coming your way.”
Sixteen states have introduced legislation to restrict abortion rights this year as conservatives try to roll back progress made by Roe v Wade – a landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
Abortion is a divisive and emotional topic in America, and one that is expected to be widely debated in the run-up to the 2020 US presidential elections.