#YouKnowMe prompts hundreds of women to tell their abortion stories on Twitter
In the wake of terrifying abortion laws being enacted in multiple states, women are rightly infuriated and scared at what looks like the crumbling of reproductive rights as we’ve long known them. It’s prompting women to share stories about their own abortions using #YouKnowMe.
The hashtag appears to have been spearheaded by actress and late-night host Busy Philipps, who recently shared her own abortion story on her show. She included the phrase “you know me” when telling her audience to drive home the point that so many women have had abortions, chances are, we all know someone who has.
“Here is the reality,” she said. “No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice, but these laws will put more women at risk. Every woman deserves compassion and care, not judgment and interference when it comes to their own bodies. The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45. That statistic 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,” she continued. “I had an abortion when I was 15 years old and I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over the country.”
Now, she’s using social media to get the message out that 1 in 4 women have had an abortion. “Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let’s do this: if you are also 1 in 4, let’s share it and start to end the shame.”
1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don't know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let's do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let's share it and start to end the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth.
— Busy Philipps (@BusyPhilipps) May 15, 2019
Her tweet call prompted hundreds of women to open up about their abortions. The reasons behind their choices are varied and often heartbreaking — but also, liberating and empowering. Women having a choice in what to do with their own bodies and futures is so crucially important, and with so many states (looking at you now, Alabama and Georgia) enacting extreme restrictions on the procedure, women are rightfully terrified.
I was 24, full-time college student, in a mentally & physically abusive relationship. My OB just found clump of cervical cancer & said going through with pregnancy would mean complications & could possibly risk my life. I had an abortion @ 7wks. 1 in 4 women have them #youknowme
— ZombiUnicorn | Nati Casanova Ⓥ (@TheZombiUnicorn) May 15, 2019
I was 19, in college, and supporting my alcoholic father and little brother with a shit job. I was on the pill. I was doing everything I was "supposed" to do to pull myself from poverty. I'm now married to the father and we are raising 2 children in a great life #youknowme
— Mrs Marmo (@MissMarmo) May 15, 2019
I am here and able to mother my incredible daughter because of the health- and life-saving abortion I had when she was three years old. #YouKnowMe
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) May 15, 2019
#YouKnowMe I had an abortion after the morning after pill did not work when I was date raped
— ☆Shine (@BurntShine) May 15, 2019
#YouKnowMe my neighbor is an elderly woman who runs the food share program in town. In high school, she piled into a S.C. hotel room with a bunch of girls in similar straights to have an illegal abortion. One girl bled out and died. She still shakes when she tells the story.
— PRE-EXISTING KATE (@KONTENTLY) May 15, 2019
16, had zero support system with family or partner. I came from a young mother, who came from a young mother. I refused to continue the cycle #youknowme
— CrissCross Applesauce (@kassy_cameron) May 15, 2019
#YouKnowMe I was 17, a senior in high school, with scholarships to UA so my Dad wouldn’t have to pay for my school. I decided to have a future and had an abortion instead of being stuck in the small town with an abusive boyfriend’s child.
— S. N. King (@MDBTrumpet) May 15, 2019
We were in love, in college and not ready for a baby, I called my doctor. Found out it was a tubal pregnancy, so I had an abortion. My partner was so loving and kind during all of it, it brought us closer together. We now have 2 kids, we’ve been together for 20yrs. #YouKnowMe
— Caitlin Papp (@Caitlpapp) May 15, 2019
The sheer number of stories really brings home how common abortions are, but chances are high that some women never tell a soul for fear of judgment — which is likely what makes so many people think it’s not a choice many women make.
Amid all the stories, there were folks pointing out that no one should have to justify their abortion. No one should have to prove why they need the ability to make choices when it comes to their own bodies.
I feel proud and honored to hear people sharing their #YouKnowMe abortion stories, but let’s be clear, you don’t need to have a “reason” to have an abortion. You shouldn’t have to prove to anyone why you want control over your own body and your own life.
— Hannah Solow (@hamstertalk) May 15, 2019
One thing that stands out to me about the #YouKnowMe stories is that women are still justifying their choice. Ladies you don't have to justify your decision. Not to Twitter, not to the GOP, not to anyone. Abortion is a legal right and it needs to remain that way.
— Sonya Iryna (@sonyairyna) May 15, 2019
And as one woman says, no one should need some heartbreaking justification for what amounts to a medical procedure. A woman not wanting to be pregnant is reason enough.
As we watch one state after another come for a woman’s right to choose, those willing to speak out and put names and faces to this incredibly common medical procedure are doing very important work. It’s hard to deny the right for women to make their own healthcare choices when it’s someone you know, not just a nameless group of women. Huge applause to those working to end the stigma — and let the world know that having an abortion is nothing to be ashamed of.