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#YouKnowMe: People speak out about abortion in wake of restrictive Alabama bill

Actress Busy Philipps began the hashtag to encourage people to share their own stories.

Actress Jameela Jamil discussed her own experience of having an abortion (Matt Crossick/PA)
Actress Jameela Jamil discussed her own experience of having an abortion (Matt Crossick/PA)

People across social media have been sharing the hashtag #YouKnowMe in protest at a restrictive bill in Alabama that blocks abortion in most cases.

The law, which follows similar restrictions in states including Georgia and Missouri, would block abortions in the event of rape and incest, and features an exception only in cases where the pregnant person’s health is at risk.

The law is set to come into effect in six months, and doctors who defy the law could face 99 years in prison.

In protest, actress Busy Philipps began the hashtag to reduce the stigma around abortion and encourage people to share their own stories.

Ms Philipps tweeted: “One in four women have had an abortion. Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but #YouKnowMe.

“Let’s do this: If you are also the one in four, let’s share it and start to end the shame.”

People used the hashtag to raise awareness of abortion, and speak out about the experiences they had had.

I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made Jameela Jamil

Actress Jameela Jamil also used the hashtag #YouKnowMe and, in separate tweets, discussed her own experience of having an abortion.

She wrote: “This anti-abortion law … is so upsetting, inhumane, and blatantly demonstrative of a hatred of women.

“I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially.”

Writer and educator Crista Anne, from Virginia, tweeted using the hashtag about her experience of having two abortions.

“Both are directly responsible for my being the brilliant and powerful woman I am. Those abortions saved me,” she wrote.

Speaking to the Press Association, she said: “I have absolutely no regrets about either of my abortions. From private conversations with friends who had also had abortions, I heard a lot of people say they also didn’t have regrets, but they felt stigma anyway.

“I started loudly talking about how my abortion was fine to give some voice that could be seen to others that having an abortion can really, actually be an OK thing that doesn’t haunt you forever … I do it because I know my words help others and that is what matters to me.

“If I had been forced to have those two children … I would be living in deep poverty. My children would not have the lives they deserve, I would not have the life I deserve.”

Marjorie Newman-Williams, president of Marie Stopes International US, said: “The Alabama abortion ban is cruel and unconstitutional. We hope that it will be blocked by the courts, and we’re deeply alarmed to see states attempt to punish women for making choices about their own bodies, lives and futures.

“Today and every day, we stand in solidarity with women in the United States who want and need safe abortion care.”

National Women’s Law Centre (NWLC) said: “Sending love to all those sharing their stories today. You should never have to justify why abortion was the right decision for you. We trust you. We trust women.”

Supporters of the law say they expect it to be blocked in court but hope that the appeals process will bring it before the Supreme Court.

Supporters say the aim is to review the 1973 Roe v Wade decision in the Supreme Court legalising abortion nationally.

Representative Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor, said: “We decided we would have one pro-life bill, and we’ll try to make one that counts.

“We based it on the fact that in Alabama law, we currently consider the baby in the womb a person.”

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From Belfast Telegraph