Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to lose friends and influence people

Because I take the internet too seriously, I recently decided to unfriend everyone on Facebook who I could discern was anti-choice.  It was mostly based on the very scientific method of making assumptions and then checking which groups they joined and what they were fans of.  I didn't do it because I "wasn't interested in having an intelligent debate," as devil's advocates and/or antis like to say, but I did it because I don't believe there is a debate.  Abortion is legal and it's necessary, it's what I do 40 hours a week.  End of story.  And I didn't have much ambivalence when I clicked that I was "sure [I] want[ed] to remove Jane Schmo as a friend" because I learned long ago that anyone in my life just has to be pro-choice.  

Days after the Great Delete of '09, I posted something or other abortion-related on Facebook, and I got a scathing reply from an acquaintance who I hadn't been able to pigeonhole properly.  It was actually the first time I'd gotten that response, but I wasn't particularly bothered.  It was like hearing protesters yelling at me as I walk into work--I know which one of us is truly wrong (hint: not me), and the weird argument just makes me care even more about my work.  

But when I scanned my list of Facebook friends later, I noticed another face missing.  It was a former college professor of mine who I had really respected and appreciated.  He had unfriended me. We talked literature, not politics, but I'd always taken him for an open-minded person.  And I was wrong, at least when it comes to students turned Abortioneers.  What I was not ready for was having someone I genuinely cared about essentially cutting me out of his life for what I do and what I believe in.  Sure, it's naive to expect it won't happen, especially when I know people whose immediate families have cut them out for the same reason.  

And that's why a lot of us get defensive.  That's why we sometimes selfishly expect for clients to bow down and thank us.  That's why we lie about what we do.  I may get angry about bomb threats and shootings, but I get flat-out sad about sacrificing friends.  

(Then again, I'm pretty certain that the friends I've made through abortion far outweigh and outnumber the ones I've lost.  Abortioneers, on this blog and not, are some of the greatest people I've ever met.)


  1. I needed this. I lost some *friends* theses past few weeks too. Thanks for being here and keeping it real, Abortioneers.

  2. I've done the same online social network cleanse. Last week, I got a poor response from someone I had known for 10 years just because I posted something with the word "abortion" in it. Defriended.

  3. odd, that's never happened to me. I'm friends with a number of antis on the 'book who have never made negative comments. maybe they have something bigger planned for me...

  4. It's the same for me. I've deleted many people from both Facebook and Myspace for being anti-choice. I just don't need the headache.

  5. My sister and brother-in-law are anti, on my facebook, and have joined anti-choice groups on fb. I worry sometimes that I've posted something "too abortiony". They have kids, and I fear I could be cut out of their lives some day...

  6. Thanks for posting this. I, too, had a friend delete (and block!) me after Dr. Tiller's assassination and my coming out of the closet on Facebook. I'm sick of being in the closet and if that means I lose FB friends (even had a relative delete me!), then so be it. You're right. There isn't a debate. And this is our lives. Why do we have to put OUR heads in the sands, just to make others comfortable? Ugh.

    Anyway. Thank you. xox

  7. Thank the heavens I'm not the only one! On Facebook, I'm always kind of hesitant to join pro-choice fan groups with the word abortion in them for fear of getting retribution from from my anti friends. :(

    One of my anti-choice friends de-friended me after I posted a video of an especially crazy anti to another friend's wall. It totally ruined our friendship. :( Granted, it's more her than me though, to be honest.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.