About 5 days ago, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion made its debut on writer Lindy West's Twitter feed to her 60,000 followers, inspired by her friend Amelia Bonow's initiative to speak publically about her abortion experience. Bonow told Vice that she did this as a personal exercise to address the shame she internalized as the result of having an abortion, and as a response to the movement to defund Planned Parenthood. Shortly thereafter, #ShoutYourAdoption burst onto the scene as a push-back to online abortion speak-outs offering adoption as a replacement to abortion. Organizations such as adoption.com quickly jumped on board directing (whom I assume to be) original parents, "Let's #ShoutYourAdoption instead of #ShoutYourAbortion! Let us know why you chose adoption over abortion." But not everyone, including myself, is thrilled about this social media movement. And one need not be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice to understand why.
Its Intention is to Silence, not EmpowerHashtags are powerful tools that can draw attention to marginalized voices by creating a collective of thoughts and narratives. Last year, Lost Daughters launched #flipthescript, a movement that reached 30 million households in 30 days, to draw attention to voices of adopted and fostered adults who are consistently drowned out in the promotional activity of National Adoption Month. #ShoutYourAbortion too was created as a platform for individuals who have experienced abortion whose voices are drowned out in the noise of election season. Although some re-frame #ShoutYourAdoption as a movement de-stigmatize adoption, the original intention of the hashtag was not to empower the adoption community.