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Women embrace, criticize #ShoutYourAbortion

A supporter of legal abortions stands near an anti-abortion demonstrator outside Dr. Carhart's clinic in Bellevue on Friday. Curt Merrill/CNN

A supporter of legal abortions stands near an anti-abortion demonstrator outside Dr. Carhart's clinic in Bellevue on Friday. Curt Merrill/CNN

By Michael Pearson


(CNN) — Women concerned about Republican efforts to take funding away from Planned Parenthood have taken to social media with a hashtag encouraging others to “shout your abortion.”

It will surprise no one that it’s turned into a bit of a fight, with abortion-rights and anti-abortion partisans duking it out and a not-insignificant cadre of those who think the whole idea is a little too much throwing rocks, as well.

The movement started Saturday with a Facebook post by a woman named Amelia Bonow, who recounted the story of her abortion and the “inexpressible level of gratitude” she felt afterwords.

“I am telling you this today because the narrative of those working to defund Planned Parenthood relies on the assumption that abortion is still something to be whispered about,” Bonow wrote. “Plenty of people still believe that on some level — if you are a good woman — abortion is a choice which should accompanied by some level of sadness, shame, or regret. But you know what? I have a good heart and having an abortion made me happy in a totally unqualified way. Why wouldn’t I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?”

Seattle writer Lindy West took a screenshot of the post and added the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag.

“It’s about destigmatization, normalization, and putting an end to shame,” West wrote in another tweet Monday.

Women streamed to the hashtag on Twitter and to a Facebook page to tell their stories, many of them affirming accounts of abortions that they said were necessary, even positive, moments in their lives.

“My wife and I had an abortion when she was in college,” Twitter user jkCallawayYAY wrote Monday. “15 years later we’re still together w/ 2 beautiful sons #NoRegret #ShoutYourAbortion”

Char Miller wrote on the Shout Your Abortion Facebook page that she was 42 when she opted for an abortion.

“My daughter was in college. My choice was not made lightly. I’ve never regretted it,” she said.

There were, of course, plenty of messages from those opposed.

“Abortion does not make you unpregnant. It makes you the parent of a dead child,” Twitter user AmyMek wrote.

“Instead of using the hashtag#ShoutYourAbortion why not drop the PC language and say #IKilledMyBabyAndImProudOfIt?” Twitter user AlyssaLafage wrote.

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin was among the public figures who weighed in, urging followers to “Shout this LOUDER: #PPSellsBabyParts.”

The effort to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood comes amid allegations from conservatives that the women’s health organization tries to profit from the sale of fetal tissue from abortions. The controversy was sparked by a series of secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the transfer of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood says it follows federal law, which does not allow the sale of human tissue but allows reimbursement for “reasonable” costs.

Republicans in Congress have made taking funding away from the organization a priority. It was also a significant topic at last week’s GOP presidential debate.

And many just felt the discussion was too public, too in-your-face.

“Regardless of your stance on abortion, why can’t we all agree it’s not something to brag about? Why is #ShoutYourAbortion a thing? Ugh,” wrote Twitter user comcatholicgirl.

But West says that getting the discussion out in public is the whole point of the effort.

“You never have to feel ashamed of your personal medical decisions,” she tweeted. “You can speak about them at full volume.”