An American woman named Angie Jackson has decided it was a good idea to share her experience of aborting her pregnancy with the world, via YouTube and Twitter.
A mother of a four-year-old who goes to the trouble of outlining the reasons why she decided on an abortion with RU486, Angie says her social media posts are her attempt to “demistify” the process, and let everyone know that for her, the whole abortion thing “isn’t such a big deal.”
Here’s the video of her saying she is “having an abortion (insert dramatic pause) right now.” (Don’t worry, there are no gunky parts, which is not what the Sydney Morning Herald would have you believe in its reporting of the story, with the warning the paper placed at the beginning of the video.)
She also twittered the entire process. You can see the community response by searching the hashtag #livetweetingabortion. And there is even a twibbon. Yes, just when you thought all the really terrible twibbon ideas were had, this one leaves nothing to the imagination.
This is a story with so many news hooks in it, a news editor would begin planning a long lunch. Front page … done. Abortion, methods of abortion, social media, social media plus abortion. Oh, and atheism. Check the mainstream media stories on this, and you’ll see it all – surface level crapola about all the obvious news angles, lots of sensationalist eye rolling and no depth.
Look at the blogosphere reactions and you see some insightful commentary. Feministe, for example, reminds us how many women go to get abortions all the time, and how veiled our usual discussions of the subject are.
Now, I personally switch between being pro-life and pro-choice (knowing that my choice will always be pro-life, no matter what, for me, but recognizing others may not feel that way. I actually have trouble with this whole stance – if I feel so strongly about it, then why am I not ready to instill my thoughts on others? I do it with breastfeeding, don’t I? And for some this means I can’t be a feminist. Feminists are not Sarah Palin. Feminists are not pro-life. People look at me and don’t think feminist. Oh really raised eyebrow? But I digress.) This is not something I throw around a lot, because as Feministe correctly states, it’s a heated debate that I don’t choose to enter. However, I have my views and I respect other people their rights to theirs. I am kind of okay with that, but I don’t know if I always will be. But for now, it’ll do. Until you judge me and be really nasty and call me names, and say horrible things about the size of my arse. Then you’ll push me over the edge and I won’t share my Aussie accent with you any more. And we all know who loses in that equation.
While I disagree with Angie’s views on the subject, I think her decision to speak about it in a very open conversation is a great one. (It’s okay. I’ll wait while you pick yourself up off the floor from shock.) I believe everyone should endeavour to hear every side of a conversation, especially views that don’t mesh with their own. Especially when you have a passionate belief on one side.
In fact, to take it even further – I wanted to hear what she had to say, even though I knew her decision would not have been mine. And I think other people should be brave enough to do that without a knee-jerk reaction (‘jerk’ being the operative word).
So instead of looking at the mainstream media stories reporting the incredulity of using social media to talk about such a politically incorrect subject, I think we can all learn more from reading and seeing personal stories about the subject, from all sides. Only then can we be truly educated and tolerant – if not understanding – of each other. Each to their own.