The merits of tweeting an abortion. (Yes, really.)

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.

Deep breath.

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.

4 comments

  • Lovely Blog. I agree that abortion is a sticky subject. I commend you for even writing about RU-486. Though the subject of ‘abortion’ will always be a subject not easily discussed, abortion has been around since women have been getting pregnant. As a person (man or otherwise), I can not appreciate that a government or social body would dictate and criminalize a decision that I make regarding my own body. As an American, a business person, a husband and a socially aware and emphatic person, I have an intense desire to keep my health and my wife’s health between us as a family and our doctor, where it belongs.

    In a world of medical miracles, truly wonderful science and exploration, I would prefer society to embark on education and social harmony as opposed to fear, guilt and state imposed criminality as mechanizations used to channel and control society’s ills such as drug use & unwanted pregnancies.

    The idea of a woman being jailed for having an abortion makes me shudder in fear. Though there comes a time when criminalization of an activity must be made law, as in assault and battery and murder, I embrace the idea that a woman’s control of her body and her fetus be her’s and her’s alone. I can think of too many instances when the state, in the effort to protect the law, does not protect its citizens. Of a woman locked up for a mis-carriage. The finger pointing by those that wish ill will, those that would seek to control a woman by fingering her to authorities, and the lack of hope of women so condones to a child they do not want. What if she did miscarry? What about those women that have miscarried more than once? A law criminalizing abortion can so easily make a pregnant woman a second class citizen and scared to even announce her pregnancy.

    When a non-formed human has more rights than a live, thinking citizen of society, I will no longer be able to condone that society or the laws in that society.

    My direct thought, in conclusion, is if a state protects the mother, it protects her children. The state can then survive and prosper, making room for new families, happy mothers and happy children.

    Pro choice is both pro family and pro child.

  • Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, the idea that a government or social body seeks to dictate or criminalize a decision people make about their own bodies is not the whole story. Those who do not believe that abortion should be available (at varying levels) commonly believe that there is a valid life at stake without a voice. Just because that life lives within the body of a woman does not give the woman or anyone else the right to end the life, whether the child is alive inside the womb or outside it. For those people, it’s the same as suggesting someone should be able to end the life of their 4 year old.
    The problem here is that lines must be drawn where law is concerned.
    I’m sorry, but I don’t see pro-choice arguments as being anything other than discussions about how okay abortion is – putting the view that the woman has more rights than the child. And that’s disappointing because while that frame exists, a real conversation between pro-life and supposedly pro-choice can never be had. Both sides have barriers up against the other. Any time anyone seems to want to raise the ‘how about you have the child and society works out better ways to help you raise it’ alternative, they are being seen as anti-female, anti-child and anti-family. Why can’t pro-choice mean you’re in favor of looking at options to help people through rather than the easier (and I would assert far more socially popular) path to abortion.
    My view is that while there remains doubt about when a fetus becomes a valid human being, I’ll err on the side of caution and would never abort. But that’s me. I certainly think that views such as yours, calling fetuses “non formed humans” really means you don’t understand any other view, let alone be willing to appreciate another school of thought.

  • Jo, I respect you so much for writing about this issue and with such clarity. Yes, you can be a feminist and be pro-life. Being a feminist shouldn’t mean you have to relinquish your ability to analyze and discern for yourself what is true, but must adhere to one political ideology.

    And, your reply to Demian is exactly what I was thinking, but could never have put so eloquently. The fact that Demian uses the word “human,” whether, formed or unformed, should be his first clue to dig deeper than may be comfortable to him. The “non-formed human” doesn’t have *more* rights than the mother, but does have equal rights that are our government’s responsibility to protect under the Constitution.

    And you are exactly right, Jo. Because a 1-year-old may not be a fully functional and contributing member of society, doesn’t make their life any less valuable. I wonder if Demian would agree with the Judge in Canada who recently decided a mother should serve no jail time after she strangled her newborn baby and threw him over the fence because infanticide is no different from abortion and a legal right in Canada? http://www.sovereignindependent.com/?p=26835

    I understand your discomfort with

  • Sorry, I meant to say – I understand your discomfort with telling people that abortion is wrong for everyone and it is very brave of you to admit that you struggle with it. I finally had to come to this conclusion: If I can’t stand by my principles, what good are they? Either truth is universal, or it isn’t.

Leave a Reply