Amelia Bonow, the Twitter user who first created the controversial hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion, has been forced into hiding after her address was published online. The writer from Seattle soon began receiving death threats.On September 18, after the House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood, Amelia Bonow took to her Facebook account to share her experience with having an abortion at a Planned Parenthood in Seattle.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, her Facebook post began "Hi guys! Like a year ago I had an abortion at the Planned Parenthood on Madison Ave, and I remember this experience with a nearly inexpressible level of gratitude."
Bonow continued her post by explaining her reasoning behind opening up about the abortion she had had.
"I am telling you this today because the narrative of those working to defund Planned Parenthood relies on the assumption that abortion is still something to be whispered about. Plenty of people still believe that on some level -- if you are a good woman -- abortion is a choice which should be accompanied by some level of sadness, shame or regret. But you know what? I have a good heart and having an abortion made me happy in a totally unqualified way. Why wouldn't I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?"
The post ended with the now viral hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. Bonow's friend and fellow writer Lindy West screen-grabbed the post and tweeted it out to her 60,000 followers using the same hashtag, and a controversy was born.Was the hashtag being used to celebrate having had an abortion or was it a means of empowering women to not feel shamed by society about something that they have a legal right to do?
Though there are many people on either side of the debate, there are those in the former category who don't seem to see the amount of irony inherent in the levelling of death threats at someone they're calling a murderer for opting for an abortion.
From the outset of her original Facebook post, Amelia had many supporters, but she also had many detractors who certainly didn't bite their tongues when it came to telling Bonow exactly how they felt.However, after the Daily Caller published Amelia Bonow's home address, those insults from strangers on the internet turned into full blown death threats, such as the one from Twitter user Netizen Kane who wrote "if happiness is the standard, then it might make many people happy if Amelia Bonow had her head crushed too." Once the death threats started, Amelia and her boyfriend moved into a hotel for a few days. They eventually returned home, but the death threats continued, so they left again. Now, the two are staying at an unspecified place, from which Bonow spoke with Vice about death threats, Planned Parenthood, and her resolve to bring the abortion conversation back around to the place where it should be: women.
"The conversation around abortion has been completely hijacked by men and anti-choice activists who have made this not about women. Women reclaiming this digital space and erasing stigma is the biggest challenge those kinds of people face. They're scared, and they should be."
In a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times, Amelia called herself a "liberal, pro-choice, loud, political woman" and said that the #ShoutYourAbortion community consists of like-minded women who believe that stigmatizing the legal right for women to choose whether to have an abortion or not is wrong. Some think that the creation of the controversial hashtag is a celebration of what they believe to be heinous, murderous act, when, in fact, Bonow said it's a means to erase the stigma and shame behind the act. A means that came about when she realized that some of the women she knew who'd had abortions, had never even told a single person about them.
"We're all women who think that stigmatizing abortion is wrong. We don't ascribe to it, and yet, in some way we have colluded with our silence."
What are your thoughts on Amelia Bonow's #ShoutYourAbortion campaign? On which side of the controversy do you fall?
[Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]