In September of 2015, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion began popping up all over social media, creating a digital community of women who were “shouting” their abortion experiences in the form of tweets, videos, Facebook posts, etc. This is the “new movement” on the pro-choice side–it’s personal and it’s effective and it’s changing the landscape surrounding the issue of abortion.
The March for Life is tomorrow and we are spending time reflecting on and deciding #whywemarch. Here at Save the Storks, we do not march to shout about abortion. We don’t march to shame abortion. We don’t march to win a debate.
We march to change the narrative.
We march to normalize life.
We march to empower women.
And we march to invite others to join the movement that is full of love, compassion, and care.
It’s true. Our office does celebrate life-affirming political victories and we are passionate about sharing facts and figures regarding abortion. But our goal extends far beyond, far deeper, than legislation and debate. We have one thing in common with #ShoutYourAbortion, and that is that we both acknowledge that neither side will win with law or facts alone. Instead, this is a battle of culture and the “winner” will be the side that more deeply ingrains its narrative into the greater cultural narrative.
We march because we want everyone to know of and embrace our vision–a vision in which abortion is unthinkable because all life is of value and a vision in which all women are loved and empowered.
We seek to create a culture in which abortion is a violence of the past–a culture in which everyone rises up to stand for the value of life. Our culture, as it is, is far from embracing this, yet not hopeless.
According to the official website for #ShoutYourAbortion, the purpose of the hashtag is to tell the truth about abortion, which is apparently that “Abortion is common, necessary, and supported by the majority of Americans.” In short, the purpose is to prove that “Abortion is normal”–a phrase that is written in bold letters on the movement’s homepage.
They are right. Abortion has become “normal.” For many, this very grave act has become a casual, simple decision, which somehow grants women a sense of freedom. They urge women to share their stories and shred any shame they feel about their choice. They urge women to be proud of their abortions and to celebrate their rights.
The pro-choice side has aligned the right to abortion with past women’s rights issues, like, the right to vote, the right to own land, the right to divorce, etc. Women’s rights have, throughout history, been pursued under the premise that women were created equal to men. It is a subcategory of human rights.
However, by embracing abortion as an issue of women’s rights, our culture has ignored the greatest, most devastating violation of human rights. With over 58 million lives ended (since Roe v. Wade) in the name of “women’s rights,” our culture needs a drastic shift in thought.
The facts are out there and it has become hard for many to deny that a fetus is life, however, people are still choosing to believe the narrative that not all life is equal.
We march to change this narrative.
We hope that by participating in this year’s March for Life, others will catch a vision for a pro-life movement that embraces women from every past and empowers them towards a hopeful future.
For so many years, the pro-life movement has been characterized by picket signs and graphic images (a.k.a. scare tactics). This approach, using shame as its main weapon, is what inspired the backlash that is #ShoutYourAbortion. In an interview with Jezebel, Amelia Bonow shares that these tactics are exactly what inspired the popular movement.
She said, “It is not breaking news that the anti-choice movement and conservatives in general rely on silence and shame to control and disempower women.”
Bonow’s movement consists mostly of short videos of women telling stories surrounding their abortions–Some women are casual and smiling and others are uncomfortable and emotional. Each woman, however, is thankful for the movement in that it is allowing them to leave behind shame and guilt, both of which they claim are a product of the pro-life movement.
But what if the pro-life movement allowed for women to toss the shroud of shame? What if we were the arms that post-abortive women ran to? What if pro-life was synonymous with love and acceptance? In order to do this, we need to reimagine the pro-life movement. We need to change the culture from the inside out. And this is #whywemarch.