Activist in Hiding After Starting #ShoutYourAbortion

Amelia Bonow started receiving death threats after starting #ShoutYourAbortion
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2015 10:36 AM CDT
Abortion-Rights Activist in Hiding After Viral Hashtag
Pro-abortion rights supporters hold up signs in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Jan. 22, 2015.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

As the debate about funding for Planned Parenthood continues, one Seattle activist has gone into hiding after a hashtag she created went viral, her address was posted online, and she started receiving death threats, the Los Angeles Times reports. The hashtag: #ShoutYourAbortion. Its mission, per Bonow and co-founder Lindy West: to encourage women who've had abortions to speak up about it and shake the stigma, notes the New York Times. "A shout is not a celebration or a value judgment; it's the opposite of a whisper, of silence," Bonow tells the New York paper. But not everyone is cool with the initiative. Both Bonow and West say they've received angry reaction and threats, as have other women who've used the hashtag. "I tweeted three times and each time got 20 or more responses, saying things like 'baby killer' and 'your child is waiting to forgive you in heaven,'" a women who had had an abortion at age 20 tells the New York Times.

Michele Bachmann jumped into the anti-hashtag fray, tweeting, "#ShoutYourAbortion gives a new meaning to macabre," while #ShoutYourAdoption sprang up to support women who chose adoption over abortion. Bonow and West kicked off their campaign with essays in Salon and the Guardian, respectively, explaining why they started the hashtag and how they felt about their own abortions (read: not sorry or ashamed). And neither is sorry about this hashtag. "Many women want to live in a world where you can say, 'I've had an abortion, and I'm perfectly fine with that,' and not have people saying they want to kill you," Bonow tells the LA Times. Meanwhile, though she's been in contact with the Seattle PD and the FBI, Bonow isn't sure how long she'll stay away from home. "I'm not a public figure," she tells the New York Times. "I've never dealt with anything like this, so I don't know how seriously to take it." (A California congresswoman shouted her abortion on the House floor.)

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