Abort73: Publicly Aborting Twins on Instagram

Published Sep 12, 2014 

The Daily Beast published an article this week by Emily Shire titled, “Wendy Davis and the ‘Good Abortion’ Myth.” Lest the title confuse you, the author is combatting the notion that some abortions are good and some abortions are bad. Though Shire applauds Davis for her decision to make her own abortions public—saying it was an incredibly brave thing to do—she takes issue with the way Davis did so. The problem with Davis’ confession, Shire argues, is that she felt compelled to justify her abortions as being medically necessary. In Shire’s mind, abortion needs no justification. Trying to explain why you had an abortion simply reinforces the notion that women need a reason for choosing abortion. They don’t, Shire tells us, and concludes by saying that, “until the ‘bad’ abortion stories are just as acceptable (as ‘good’ abortion stories), pro-choice advocates have a long way to go.”

The reason I reference this story is because it highlights one of the subtexts of the abortion debate—the shame that women who publicly advocate for abortion often feel over private abortions. Wendy Davis has been derisively called the “Abortion Barbie.” Her 13-hour filibuster at the Texas state house made her name synonymous with pro-abortion politics, and yet she hid her own abortions from public view for years and writes that the second one threw her into “an indescribable blackness.” That is significant. For as many women who have abortions in the United states—roughly one million a year—it’s relatively rare to find women who will publicly admit to doing so.

Knowing how guarded most women are with their abortions, you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon precisely the opposite tact this week on Instagram. While looking through recent posts with the hashtag #abortion, I came upon a young woman from Wisconsin who posted a post-abortion selfie of herself—on September 9—with the following caption:

Got an empty womb. No longer preggo. Getting drunk with my roommate /ex . Dont care. Loving it. At 125 but not for long. 97 by new years!!!!! #anorexia #bulimia #abortion #edfamily #diet #weight #skinny #thin #fat

I was stunned and grieved—on many levels. Of all the abortion-promoting posts tagged with #abortion, hers alone was a personal celebration of her own abortion. Clicking through her earlier entries, I soon discovered that her entire journey—from discovering her pregnancy to visiting Planned Parenthood—was publicly documented on her Instagram account in a series of heart-breaking selfies. This is the progression...


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