Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will "web 2.0" change abortion, too?

Yesterday Bob R tipped us off to the story of a Florida woman named Angie who's been live-tweeting her medication-abortion process for several days now.  That's right: 140-character updates about her nausea, cramping, bleeding, clotting ("some women also experience dizziness headache fever and diarrhea") for all the world to read on twitter. The process is winding down now, but it was interesting while it lasted. 


Unfortunately, her tweeting, which started out as a way to let her friends know how she was doing and describe to others what the process was like, has also attracted negative attention in spades. Angie's gotten insults and death threats. Some responses are weird, creepy or violent ("I'd like to pull on her ear til it rips from her head"?). I really appreciate what she's doing for all of us despite the creepsters. I also respect that she agreed to an interview with an extremely anti-abortion dude who asked absurdly leading questions and didn't fall apart laughing; her answers were thorough, compelling and supportive of all other women's need for reproductive choice. (To give credit where credit's due: the extremely anti-abortion dude was also extremely polite.) 

Then, not 24 hours after we read about Angie, I came across another woman doing the same thing: live-tweeting her medication abortion. She's just begun it. I also saw some more creepy twitter people messaging her every other minute trying to change her mind: "puke [the pills] up. please puke them up. i'll adopt your child. please save your child." I am not making this up. So the notion of Web 2.0 has been on my mind: it's revolutionizing everything else, so why not abortion? 

On this site we already have a permanent link-list of blogs started by women in the midst of an unwanted pregnancy, blogs dedicated to what happened once they decided to have an abortion. Presumably/possibly, these women have their own blogs in "real life" where they write about their jobs, how their day went, and maybe they even use their real names or post pictures; this blog and that blog will be registered to different email addresses, and never the twain shall meet. And that's understandable. I already can't thank them enough  for sharing their experiences with fellow travelers in a way that providers cannot. They're not responsible for changing the world in one blog. 

But what happens when someone who has a personal website and a personal twitter feed updates us about her abortion like it's no big thing? To me this is looking like the next step. The internet (version "1.0" or whatever) at first enabled us to have more information at our fingertips than ever before -- but only the authoritative or the moneyed could provide that information. Blogging has allowed some of us to share day-by-day accounts of a procedure we formerly only discussed in our living rooms. Now tweeting: by-the-hour, by-the-minute details -- a scale where little things like "cramping got worse for a while but I curled up on my side and that seems to help" are worth mentioning. And where some of us may feel that we can incorporate this little thing into our account of daily life -- our primary account, that is -- not segregated or anonymous, just normal, like it really is. 

Update: turns out Salon just wrote about this, too, and includes a Youtube video of Angie explaining the situation (found via abortion clinic days, one of my very favorite sites). 


  1. Interesting post. I've been loosely following this live-tweeting medication-abortion thing. Very interesting method to personalize abortion. One of the major hurdles the reproductive justice movement has to overcome is that abortion is typically far too private for folks to share their story the way folks have been doing in the health care fight.

  2. Am a fan. Break the silence, folks!

  3. I think this is great. But I just came across this bit of news that concerns me:

    Criminal Miscarriage in Utah?

  4. And Jill Stanek, a real crazy anti is after her as well. Tiffany Moore Campbell has also picked up Angie's cause. If anybody is on Facebook, please look up Angie the Atheist and show your support. Tiffany Moore Campbell has a compelling story, look her up on YouTube. She defeated the anti abortion initiatives in South Dakota several years ago. We have some great foot soldiers out there like you ladies. . .makes me feel like a wimp. Thanks for your hard work.

  5. Steph, thank you for that link. Some of my cobloggers saw this today and haven't been sure whether to blog or to pass around links to other, very good news pieces. I'll post to our fb account (did twitter already) right now and hopefully we can tackle this travesty - not that I have any clue what can be done - on the blog tomorrow.

  6. I googled Tiffany Moore Campbell and was directed to this chilling and nauseating piece of dreck.
    This man is repugnant. And he's running for congress. And he's a minister. He's a smug, self satisfied misogynistic patronizing bastard, and people like him are a HUGE reason why I left organized religion. I fear for the woman of South Dakota with candidates such as this man, especially since he calls his blog "South Dakota's most loving blog." Unless you are a woman who DARES to disagree with him that is.

  7. Eugh, Kristen - I'm almost sorry I read that blog. What a douchebag. To paraphrase my dear coblogger daughter of wands -- Who Would Jesus Hate On?

  8. just saw that guys blog against Tiffany. What a bully. I sent Tiffany a note about this guy.

  9. Feel free to add my blog if you want - I certainly talk about the abortion there - but if its larger topic-base makes it unsuitable, no worries :)

    Angie the Anti-Theist
    @antitheistangie #livetweetingabortion


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