Today on Twitter, women proudly proclaimed in 140 characters or less that they had an abortion. Started by blogger IAmDrTiller, the proponents of the #ihadanabortion hashtag said it was an empowering step toward removing the stigma from abortion. Example: “Sometimes twitter is so inspiring. The #ihadanabortion hashtag is beautiful to see. Yeah ladies!” Another woman chides a critic of the abortion hashtag hoedown by likening having one to getting her wisdom teeth extracted.
(bangs head on desk in frustration)
Let’s get this out of the way: I am an avowed pro-choice advocate. I donate to the cause. I thank the clinic escorts at the Planned Parenthood near my office when I walk by at lunchtime. I vote on this issue. I dutifully bitch in my Facebook status when the patriarchy belches forth things like the Stupak Amendment.
But the word “yeah” in proximity to an exclamation point in proximity to someone touting their abortion with a hashtag is where I draw the line. And all of it in proximity to Twitter, where today users deemed the second-most important use to be welcoming home Lil Wayne from jail? Fail. If you believe that abortion should be kept safe and legal, yet cannot also acknowledge that it represents a drastic and tragic confluence of circumstances and that the result is not on par with having one’s molars removed, you’ve reduced the nuanced complexity of the pro-choice movement to the lowest form of T-shirt screediness.
I wish I could say I had the best assessment of how unsettling this whole business was but I have to give that honor to RIChris, a commenter on a Salon piece published this afternoon as the hashtag was trending. He writes: “It’s unfortunate that while the Supreme Court upheld a woman’s Constitutional right to privacy, so many women choose not to exercise it by keeping it private.”