Alabama passed a near-total abortion ban this week in a shocking yet unsurprising move. We’ve all seen this fight against Roe v. Wade coming since the sickening news settled in on November 9, 2016. In recent months, multiple states have adopted some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. In the past year, we’ve seen Republicans stacking the decks with gerrymandering, voter suppression, and placing an anti-choice extremist in Supreme Court seat that rightfully should have been filled under President Obama. It’s no coincidence that in Georgia, where the “6 week” abortion ban passed, the governor who signed the bill is also the same governor who presided over his own election as secretary of state and disenfranchised tens of thousands of Democratic voters. It’s all according to plan. Republicans are nothing if not methodical, you have to give them that.
On Twitter, progressives have been voicing rage, sadness, and fear over the disgraceful abortion ban in Alabama. One of the most heinous elements of this bill is the fact that Republicans wouldn’t even allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest—that, as a few have pointed out, under this new law, a doctor who performs abortions would potentially serve more prison time than a man who rapes and impregnates a woman. Under the hashtag #YouKnowMe, currently trending on Twitter, women are sharing their abortion stories in hopes to raise awareness of how prevalent abortion is and how devastating and life-threatening the consequences of this abortion ban will be.
Some women got pregnant after using birth control—not that Republicans want women to have access to birth control.
#youknowme I was 17, Senior in HS while on the BC patch and condom. I don't need to give you a reason why I had to do it. Here I am 16 years later a mother to my two beautiful children, wouldn't have changed that moment in my past for anything. ❤YOU ARE STRONG❤ pic.twitter.com/JS040hIozq
— Elle 🍒 (@ElleRomance) May 15, 2019
Some women got pregnant after being raped as teenagers.
I was 15, I was raped by the DJ of my sweet 16 party. Not long after I found out I was pregnant, I was scared. My mother brought me to the abortion clinic. #youknowme
— Christina (@deathaponuu) May 15, 2019
Or … not even teenagers.
I was 12…need I say more??? #YouKnowMe
— Niesha Love🌺 (@loveis716) May 15, 2019
Some of these teenagers were not only raped, then impregnated, but the pregnancy itself was life-threatening.
I was sixteen. I had been raped by a school volunteer. The fetus had caused internal bleeding and I was fifteen minutes from dying. I was a Sophomore in high school…dying because of the choice of one man. It was either me or the fetus that was going to die anyway. #youknowme
— Jennifer N (@TheSaltWell) May 15, 2019
Some women’s abortions meant being able to both survive and be there as a mother for their families.
If I didn’t, I would have died, my husband would have been a widow, and my one-year old would have grown up without a mother. #youknowme
— Fashion Meets Fifty 💁🏻♀️ (@charharreveld) May 15, 2019
Some women faced some unimaginably hard choices.
I was 4 1/2 months pregnant. The fetus was not developing a spine. I had an abortion. I do not regret it. Three beautiful children with spines were born after my decision.
— Starbucks Lover☕❤ (@StarbucksVente) May 15, 2019
Some women’s pregnancies were a threat to their future reproductive health.
We were in love, in college and not ready for a baby, I called my doctor. Found out it was a tubal pregnancy, so I had an abortion. My partner was so loving and kind during all of it, it brought us closer together. We now have 2 kids, we’ve been together for 20yrs. #YouKnowMe
— Caitlin Papp (@Caitlpapp) May 15, 2019
For some, the decision partly had to do with their inability to afford another child. Too bad the “pro-life” party seems to have no interest in helping women and children in poverty.
My daughter was 1 year old and I knew financially I couldn't afford another baby. It was the hardest, most painful and deeply personal decision I've made in my life. The government involving itself in such intensely private matters is ridiculous #youknowme
— Beyonce's Blackassness 👑✊🏽 (@melanatedgirl) May 15, 2019
Some women just weren’t ready.
I was going to preface this by saying that the details are unimportant, but they probably are because if you’re like me, you might feel like you don’t have the right reason. I was 18 and not ready to become a mother. I exercised autonomy and accessed a safe abortion. https://t.co/NHRdPKNn0G
— Heidi Hoffmann (@heidi_w_idieh) May 15, 2019
The fact is, every woman who’s had an abortion did it because it was the right decision for them.
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
There are so many more abortion stories under this hashtag. I urge you to go read them yourself. These people laying bare their stories on Twitter are courageous, and I only hope somewhere, anti-choicers are reading these tweets and rethinking their stance.
However, let’s also acknowledge how incredibly disturbing it is that women feel the need to justify their very personal choices in a public forum in order to fight back against this. That people who have been through these traumatizing experiences are the ones stepping up and expending their emotional labor to publicly relive these traumas to fight back against a draconian law that should never have been passed in the first place. (I’m reminded of #MeToo here—an amazing movement, but one that required the most traumatized and oppressed to also publicly relive experiences in attempts to convince men of the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.) Let’s remember that while this hashtag is eye-opening for some, this is something no one should ever have to do.