On Tuesday night, Alabama passed a law banning almost all forms of abortion in the state, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The measure would make the procedure a felony for doctors, punishable for up to 99 years in prison. The bill, which was designed to challenge the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, was signed by Alabama’s governor, Kay Ivey, last night.
In response to the restrictive bill, actress Busy Philipps took to Twitter to point out that one in four women have had an abortion in the U.S. “Many people think they don’t know someone who has [had an abortion], but #youknowme,” Philipps tweeted. “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.”
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
Philipps—who first spoke out about her abortion last week during an episode of her talk show, Busy Tonight—initially got the idea for the hashtag from Tina Fey, she told the New York Times.
At the time of writing, Philipps’s tweet has more than 2,000 replies, many of which came from other people who responded with personal stories of their own experiences with abortion. Users also retweeted her post with their responses or simply used the tag in their standalone tweets. The hashtag spread around Instagram and Twitter (on the latter, it became a trending topic in the U.S. yesterday), and much like #MeToo, it showed how many people in our everyday lives have gone through similar experiences.
The decision we had to make was so personal & difficult – the idea of having to *prove* to lawmakers that I would be in danger or sick enough to warrant an abortion is absolutely monstrous.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) May 15, 2019
I was 18. I had a choice. I made that choice. I stand by that choice. Every woman should be able to have a choice. #YouKnowMe
— Rafranz (@RafranzDavis) May 15, 2019
Telling my personal abortion story from the stage of the DNC in 2016 was the scariest thing I have ever done. But I knew the stakes then and we are seeing the consequences now. Thanks to @BusyPhilipps who started #YouKnowMe because you do. https://t.co/ovS00B7G73
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) May 15, 2019
In 2012 I had an abortion, I wasn't ready in any means to have a child I am 1 in 4 and #YouKnowMe. Post procedure I immediately cried, it was one of the hardest decisions to make but I would have not been able to grow the way I did the last 7 years if I didn't make that decision https://t.co/nZ6kTZVd6e
— Nelini Stamp (@NelStamp) May 15, 2019
— Jenny Lawson (@TheBloggess) May 15, 2019
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
— Nati 🦄 ZombiUnicorn Casanova Ⓥ (@TheZombiUnicorn) May 15, 2019
My son exists because when I needed an abortion halfway through my (very wanted) first pregnancy, I had access to safe, legal abortion. Without it, I would very likely have been left infertile, or worse. #YouKnowMe pic.twitter.com/4l6JlCKYtw
— Sabrina Joy Stevens (@realsabijoy) May 15, 2019
I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me, and it wasn't a hard one. My husband and I were working more than full time and had three kids already. I was fortunate that, at the time, accessing abortion in TX was not the nightmare it is now. #YouKnowMe
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) May 16, 2019
Almost 60 years ago, my mother had an illegal abortion. It was too harrowing for her to discuss, but she made sure I knew it had happened. In 2010, my wife had a legal abortion after we found out her pregnancy was not viable. We cannot and will not go back. #YouKnowMe #YouKnowUs
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) May 16, 2019
5 years ago i didn't know i was pregnant because there were no signs, just pain.
it was an Ectopic Pregnancy – meaning the fetus would not survive & i could face life threatening internal bleeding, so i had an abortion. i chose me, my life. and i have zero regrets. #youknowme https://t.co/Mp4NWeGwYp
— a m a n d a (@amanda__sucks) May 16, 2019
I had an abortion when I was 19. Despite being on the pill AND using condoms, I fell pregnant. I did everything "right" and it still happened. I wasn't ready to be a mother and that was fucking okay. Everyone – EVERYONE (!!) should have the choices I had. #YouKnowMe https://t.co/jW33CXKgIw
— Bianca (@itsbinkybee) May 16, 2019
I had an abortion when I was 18 years old. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about it on here but I’m not ashamed so I’m sharing today because if #youknowme then you know someone who has had an abortion.
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) May 16, 2019
#youknowme. Finding out I was pregnant 13 years ago was the most horrifying, surreal experience of my life. I was with a serious boyfriend at the time. I was on birth control. I WAS ON BIRTH CONTROL. I was furious, confused, and devastated to find out it had failed.
— Katlyn Carlson (@katlyncarlson) May 16, 2019
I had an abortion in my early 20s. I have zero regrets. Because I was able to exercise my right to choose then, I can provide a good life for my children now. #SorryNotSorry #YouKnowMe #RoeVWade https://t.co/bjQ1GGDfyZ
— Maureen Shaw (@MaureenShaw) May 15, 2019
I‘m mom to 2 amazing kids, for whom I‘m so grateful. I also had an abortion years ago & it’s none of your business why.
— Kristin Mink (@KristinMinkDC) May 15, 2019
I was 27. My then-boyfriend, who was big on "pulling out in time", thought we should consider having it and I said something like DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I AM ON THE VERGE OF DOING?? 2 years later I started shooting my first feature. #youknowme https://t.co/AA6kiKKz0v
— Miranda July (@Miranda_July) May 15, 2019
The hardest choice I’ve ever made. At the end of the day I knew I couldn’t support a kid when I myself was one. I also didn’t want to add another baby to the 600,000+ kids in the US foster care system. I am forever grateful I was given a CHOICE. #YouKnowMe https://t.co/xUrBZcGJeQ
— Ciara ♡ (@ciaraxmb) May 15, 2019
I had just turned 24. I was trying to stay sober, living on $200 a week and was so incapable of taking care of myself that I hadn't seen a dentist in 6 years. It was a deeply sad experience AND a decision I never once regretted. 1 in 4. #youknowme
— Nadia Bolz-Weber (SHAMELESS af) (@Sarcasticluther) May 16, 2019
While many voiced praise and messages of comfort with those who shared their stories, some also pointed out that women shouldn’t have to justify or explain what they decide to do their bodies. In anecdotes that included abuse, women had to reopen wounds or relive trauma in order to make their point.
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
Reading thru #YouKnowMe the most striking thing, beyond the fact that no woman should ever have to justify the choices she makes with her own body, is all of the suffering/shame/pain/trauma women have had to endure, often Bc of men's choices. Those men likely feel none of it.
— Ana R (@AnaRooot) May 15, 2019
#YouKnowMe is brave and amazing, just like #MeToo – but it is another example of women having to re-traumatize themselves or relive their hardest moment to explain that WE MATTER. Abortion is an easy decision for some but incredibly hard for others. We shouldn't have to do this.
— Ipsita Sen (@nesatispi) May 15, 2019
Other celebrities also opened up about their own experiences with abortion, with and without Philipps’s hashtag.
Actress and activist Jameela Jamil tweeted #youknowme and defended her decision against male trolls. “A LOT of men calling me a whore and telling me I ‘shouldn’t have opened my legs’ and that I should have used contraception,” she wrote. “Not that it justifies my right to choose, but I DID use contraception, and it didn’t work, it doesn’t always work. It could happen to you, you utter clowns.”
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) May 15, 2019
A LOT of men calling me a whore and telling me I “shouldn’t have opened my legs” and that I should have used contraception. Not that it justifies my right to choose, but I DID use contraception, and it didn’t work, it doesn’t always work. It could happen to you, you utter clowns. https://t.co/JPe5xm002s
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) May 15, 2019
Ashley Judd posted a #YouKnowMe graphic on Instagram and wrote in the caption, “Raped at 30, I terminated the pregnancy. Additionally, the rapist would have had paternity rights.”
Minka Kelly also shared her story, posting a collage of the 25 republican men who voted to pass the bill in Alabama. “When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, not only for myself & my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus,” part of her caption read.
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When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, not only for myself & my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus. For a baby to’ve been born to two people — too young and completely ill equipped — with no means or help from family, would have resulted in a child born into an unnecessary world of struggle. Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into. Forcing a child to be born to a mother who isn’t ready, isn’t financially stable, was raped, a victim of incest (!!), isn’t doing that theoretical child any favors. For those of you insisting abortion is murder, and to Rep. Terri Collins who said “an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and attention” — forget bringing up the mother might be in need of some “love and attention.” What do you think happens to these kids who end up bouncing around in foster care, live on government assistance because the mother has no help, can’t afford childcare while she works a minimum wage job, and is trapped in a cycle of trying to survive on the meager government assistance so many of you same pro-lifers are determined to also take away. If you insist on forcing women to carry to term, why do you refuse to talk about comprehensive sex-ed, the maternal mortality rate, free daycare, paid maternity leave? Our lives, traumas & family planning is for no one to decide but us. Certainly not a group of old white men. Speaking of men… With all this punishment for women I wonder where all the punishment is for the men in this scenario. By looking at the photo of all the men who are making this mess, I find it hard to believe that if it were the autonomy of a man's body, health and life in question, I cant help but be certain we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place. I appreciate seeing men speak up on this issue – women do not get pregnant alone. Lest we forget, outlawing abortion has never stopped women from attempting it. @abortionfunds @yellowfund & @EmergeAmerica @emilys_list @runforsomethingnow who work 2 elect pro-choice candidates. #YouKnowMe
Milla Jovovich opened up on Instagram about an emergency abortion she had two years ago when she was four and a half months pregnant. “I went into pre term labor and [was] told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure. It was one of the most horrific experiences I have ever gone through,” she wrote, adding that she had to take time off from her career.
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I don’t like to get political and I try to only do it if a really have to and this is one of those times. If someone doesn’t want to continue reading, you have been warned. Our rights as women to obtain safe abortions by experienced doctors are again at stake. Last Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a draconian bill into law that outlaws all abortions after six weeks — before most women even realize they’re pregnant — including in cases of RAPE OR INCEST. This makes Georgia the sixth state to pass such a restrictive six-week abortion ban, joining Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, and North Dakota. These laws haven’t been passed yet, but lawmakers in these states are trying. Abortion is hard enough for women on an emotional level without having to go through it in potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions. I myself went through an emergency abortion 2 years ago. I was 4 1/2 months pregnant and shooting on location in Eastern Europe. I went into pre term labor and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure. It was one of the most horrific experiences I have ever gone through. I still have nightmares about it. I was alone and helpless. When I think about the fact that women might have to face abortions in even worse conditions than I did because of new laws, my stomach turns. I spiraled into one of the worst depressions of my life and had to work extremely hard to find my way out. I took time off of my career. I isolated myself for months and had to keep a strong face for my two amazing kids. I started gardening, eating healthier and going to the gym everyday because I didn’t want to jump into taking anti depressants unless I had tried every other alternative. Thank God I was able to find my way out of that personal hell without turning to medication, but the memory of what I went through and what I lost will be with me till the day I die. Abortion is a nightmare at its best. No woman wants to go through that. But we have to fight to make sure our rights are preserved to obtain a safe one if we need to. I never wanted to speak about this experience. But I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake. #prochoice #prochoicegeneration
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US