On Wednesday, Alabama’s governor signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban. Women are now pushing back — and pointing out how common abortion is in America — by sharing their own abortion stories using the hashtag, #YouKnowMe.
The movement was started by actress Busy Philipps, known for her roles in Dawson’s Creek, freaks and geeks, and Emergency room. Last Tuesday, the actress spoke candidly about her own teenage abortion on her talk show busy tonight in response to Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill”.
“The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before the age of 45,” she said. “That stat sometimes surprises people, and maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion. Well, you know me.”
The figures come from a study published by the American Public Health Association in 2017, which also found that the rate of abortions fell by 25% between 2008 and 2014 and that people with lower incomes are more likely to have abortions. ‘intervention.
The actress posted a similar message on Twitter early Wednesday morning after the Alabama Senate voted to pass an abortion bill that would not exempt cases of rape and incest. In her tweet, she encouraged others to share their abortion stories using the hashtag #youknowme. As of Friday morning, the tweet had over 10,000 retweets and 50,000 likes.
1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but #you know me. So let’s do this: If you’re the 1 in 4 too, let’s share it and start ending the shame. Use #you know me and share your truth.
— Busy Phillips (@BusyPhilipps) May 15, 2019
In an interview with The New York Times, Phillips said she thinks it’s important for women to speak up and change the narrative, especially because abortion is such a taboo subject, she said. declared.
The thousands of tweets that have been shared with #YouKnowMe cover a range of reasons why people have decided to have abortions. Some have been raped. Some have used protection but their contraceptives have failed. Some were in abusive relationships. Some were pregnant with children who had life-threatening developmental problems. Some were not ready to introduce a child to the world. Some say they don’t feel the need to explain themselves to justify their choices.
#You know me. I aborted.
It was the best choice for my health and my family. Although it was an extremely difficult decision, I do not regret it.
Thank you, @BusyPhilipps for starting this hashtag and for all the women who share. I am one of you and I am with you.https://t.co/Gor4M9NF5Q
—Jackie Speier (@JackieSpeier) May 17, 2019
I want to clarify: I married this boyfriend a few years later and we have two wonderful children. We are terribly cute, all four of us. We are the family that Norman Rockwell painted all these years (but Jewish.) And this abortion was the right decision for us. #You know me
— Emily L. Hauser (@emilylhauser) May 17, 2019
In 2012, I had an abortion. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I still think about it to this day. But these truths do not make me regret my decision. It was the right choice for me at this point in my life. I don’t have a single doubt about it. #You know me
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) May 16, 2019
Several celebrities and public figures joined, including actress and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. She shared the stories of her mother, who had a “heartbreaking” illegal abortion, and his wife, who discovered the pregnancy was not viable.
Almost 60 years ago, my mother had an illegal abortion. It was too painful for her to talk about, but she made sure I knew it had happened. In 2010 my wife had a legal abortion after we found out her pregnancy was not viable. We cannot and will not return. #You know me #YouKnowUs
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) May 16, 2019
Former Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards also shared her abortion story using the viral hashtag. She ended her tweet with a note that women shouldn’t have to share their personal stories to “try to generate some empathy from politicians.”
For me, sharing my story has been powerful. I meet people all the time who tell me that it inspired them to talk about their abortion. But the point is, we shouldn’t have to share our most personal experiences just to try to generate some empathy from politicians. #You know me
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) May 16, 2019
In her interview with The New York Times, Phillips said the #MeToo movement has motivated people, including men, because women are sharing their personal stories. #YouKnowMe has a similar effect: bringing taboo subjects closer to home.
For more on the Alabama and Georgia bans, read Vox’s Anna North explains.