My colleague Donna Trussell wrote last week
about a statement that has become a political slogan "trending" on Twitter. Donna despairs over a mini political movement that consists of (over)sharing the four words, "I had an abortion," run together with a hash tag in front of it. She thinks the rhetoric is effective but deplores the precarious state of our human rights that require women to defend their privacy by exposing personal medical decisions. I agree with Donna's disappointment over #ihadanabortion
but for different reasons.
As a child of the Woodstock generation, I remember a time when opposition to abortion rights was all but gone. In the late 1970s and throughout much of the 1980s, it seemed to me that people who opposed abortion were weirdos who drove trucks through major cities with huge signs depicting fetuses in bottles along with Biblical citations telling pregnant women (and others) that they were going straight to hell if they aborted their unborn children.
Since then, the term "unborn child" has become so much a part of the lexicon it's heard in love songs.
What happened? Sonograms. Once American women could see sonograms of the living creatures in their uteruses, they fell head-long in love with pregnancy and unborn children.
Well, typing #ihadanabortion into a cellphone could be the abortion-rights' movement's technological answer to the sonogram. By showing especially young women and teenagers that abortions are common, widespread and have improved the lives of many women, the hashtag meme acts as a technological counterpoint to the imagery brought home by a sonogram.
An unwanted pregnancy, particularly on the part of a teen who cannot tell her parents, is one of the loneliest things in the world. The beauty of technology is that a teen need not now be lured into a fake "Crisis Pregnancy Center
," only to be cowed into foregoing abortion and be told one is a sinner.
Personally, I blame the churches that run these centers for the rise in unwed motherhood, because they successfully lure unwed teens and others into having children they are unprepared for or incapable of caring for. But that's for another blog entry, another time.
For now, it suffices to say that due to technology, a woman cowering in the corner may no longer feel alone. She can go on Twitter and see thousands of others who've had abortions and whose lives were made better by their tough decisions. In that sense, technology is a great ally.