#YouKnowMe: why women are sharing their abortion stories

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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