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
— Rafranz⁷ (@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
— ilyseh (@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 Casanova Ⓥ they/them (@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
— $3 OF! birthday jan 12th✨ (@weepingxdevil) 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
— maureenshaw (@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 #ImpeachAndRemoveNOW (@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
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 (@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 (@ipsssen) 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.”
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.
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.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US