Woman Faces Backlash for Announcing Her Abortion on Facebook

Woman Faces Backlash for Announcing Her Abortion on Facebook December 13, 2018

Facebook users are using their best keyboard warrior tactics to fight over a viral post on abortion. A mother, who we will not identify, shared a photo on Facebook of an ultrasound. Instead of the ultrasound being used to announce her pregnancy, the post shared her choice to abort the fetus. The comment sections on her post went wild. The viral post has more than 15,000 shares sparking a wild debate on the normalization of abortion.

In the post uploaded on December 11th, the mother shares the photo of the ultrasound. Attached to the picture, is a piece of paper that says, “Baby #4 11/4/2018 – 12/11/2018.”

Under the photo the mother wrote the following caption:

“Baby, I loved you with all my heart but you just weren’t meant to be with us right now. We’re going through a lot and you deserved all the love in the world. Your brother and sister would’ve loved you too. Rest Easy baby love. You’ll never be forgotten. 11/4/18-12/11/18 #Abortion”

Following the photo upload, people quickly began commenting on the photo. Individuals connected to the mother told her she was tacky, trashy, and f’d up for glorifying abortion.

Friends of the mother went straight for her jugular with some of the comments. Some accused the mother of only having the abortion so she could drink on her 21st birthday. Others assumed the mother posted the photo for attention and that she didn’t care about the baby.

As the hate comments poured onto her page, others took the time to stick up for the mother. Knowing the abortion may have been a difficult choice, friends offered their respects to the mother and unborn child. Others used their best fighting words to fight off the trolls.

Even a friend that was pro-life felt the attacks against the mother were unwarranted and heartless.

The commentary on the mother’s post spread far beyond the mother’s timeline. Because the mother posted the photo publically, word began circulating Facebook about the picture. Soon thousands of people started sharing the photo on their timelines and in groups.

Through some investigation, I located the photo in at least three groups. The groups ranged in size from 14,000 users to over 75,000 users. As the photo spread, the debate about the picture continued to elicit heated and at times hostile discussions.

Pro-life individuals found the photo distasteful and a glorification of murder. Even pro-choice women found the picture heartless, attention seeking and tacky. Pro-choice women against the photo said, “abortions should be kept private.”

People within the groups went into the mother’s profile to take screenshots of comments she had previously made. They accused the mother of being trashy, disrespectful, and some called her a murderer.

Others took time to defend the mother. These individuals found the mother’s photo to be courageous, brave, and a way to normalize abortion.

The argument between the sides outlines the heated nature of abortion. In 2018, abortion has been legal for more than 40 years in the United States. However, legislation around the country is making an abortion harder to obtain for women.

For example, in the state of Tennessee suspended the Nashville Planned Parenthood for quality control issues. If women in Tennessee need or want to obtain an abortion, they will be forced to travel more than 200 miles away to Knoxville.

In Ohio, lawmakers passed a bill to prohibit abortions once a fetus develops a heartbeat. The bill passed by the House wanted the ban to begin at six weeks gestation. However, the Ohio Senate amended the bill to extend the period to 12 weeks gestation. The law will now go to Governor John Kasich for review. Kasich vetoed similar legislation in 2016.

Dozens of states have made so many restrictions on abortion, that women are forced to travel out of state if they wish to have one. In Indiana, for example, abortions are not legal after 20 weeks gestation.

All of the attempted legal changes by legislatures, like the one in Ohio, are written as a way to push legal cases to the Supreme Court. With the U.S. Supreme Court recently swinging conservative with the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, pro-life advocates hope to force the Supreme Court to ban abortions.

Despite the growing pressure to restrict and prohibit abortions, abortion is not illegal. When the Supreme Court upheld Roe vs. Wade, the federal government ruled that abortions are a legal right for pregnant women.

As long as abortions remain legal, women in all 50 states have constitutional rights to abort their unborn fetus. Even though abortion is legal, women that choose to have an abortion face considerable criticism.

In a study published in Women’s Health Issues in 2011, the study discussed research surrounding the stigma of abortion. The authors of the paper theorized that stigma surrounding abortions exists for the following reasons:

  • It violates “feminine ideals” of womanhood,
  • Technological advancements have facilitated personification of the fetus,
  • Legal restrictions reinforce the notion that abortion is morally wrong,
  • Abortion is viewed as dirty or unhealthy, and
  • Anti-abortion forces have found stigma a powerful tool.

Through the study, the authors found that 2 out of 3 women that have abortions anticipate shame by others learning about the abortion. One study showed that 58% of women felt they had to keep their abortion a secret from friends and family. 17% of women said they had to keep the secret from healthcare providers. All of the women said they felt if they told anyone that they feared the harsh judgment by others.

The studies conducted indicated that the stigma of abortion could also delay women choosing to abort promptly.

Additionally, the stigma of abortion also extends to people that support abortion choice. The study found that there are wide held beliefs within society that some abortions are more justified than others. Abortions related to fetal abnormalities, sexual assault, or for very young women/girls are more socially acceptable.

Knowing that research and data support the stigmatization of abortion, the response of strangers to the mother is not unexpected.

When pro-choice individuals decide that abortion is only acceptable in certain instances, mothers that choose abortion for personal reasons face harsh judgment.

If a mother makes a choice not to have a baby because she doesn’t want to have the child, the mother is vilified and judged harshly.

By sharing the status, the mother attempted to come out of the shadows and not keep her abortion secret. Despite hateful words and messages from strangers, the mother held her ground. She fiercely defended her right to have an abortion for no other reason than it was her right to make that choice.

If pro-choice allies hope to change the stigma of abortion, we must be willing to accept that women have abortions for dozens of reasons. Even if we don’t agree with their rationalization, pro-choice women must support other women for their legal right to chose.

Additionally, we must shift how we talk about abortion. Women that choose to abort a child should not feel as though they cannot speak about abortion. Forcing a woman to remain silent can increase their feelings of shame, depression, and guilt associated with the choice.

The only way we can progress in society is by allowing women to feel safe in sharing their stories.

Normalizing the discussion around abortion allows women that go through them to process their grief, guilt, and sadness.

No woman deserves to live in darkness and hide her legal right to choose.

Please let these women speak and share their stories.

The mother’s message later that day perfectly sums up why posts like these are necessary for anyone that is thinking about or has chosen to have an abortion.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Anat

    Wow, this woman is brave. Abortion is an experience many women have. There should be no shame about it. It should be possible to share it with the world (or not) like any other thing one considers significant in one’s life.

  • I agree.

  • lady_black

    Nobody aborts a child. All children have already been born.

  • that doesn’t make any sense

  • llDayo

    I have no issue with her announcing her intended abortion through social media. However, her speaking about the fetus as if it were a fully developed child was not a good idea. That only enforces the thinking of the pro-life crowd that a fetus should be considered alive which is a stigma that should be combated, not encouraged.

  • Shan

    Speaking up and sharing experiences is how LGBTs gained more acceptance and equality.

    Speaking up about one’s disbelief is how “Nones” are also becoming more accepted (and the third largest ‘religion’ in the world).

    Speaking up about one’s choice to abort, no matter the reason, sounds like a proven way to gain acceptance for being Pro-Choice.

  • That’s exactly what occurred to me. If this woman had just talked about her decision to terminate a pregnancy, I’d have a lot more admiration for her. But the fact that she showed a picture of the fetus, and wrote to it in words you’d use to soothe a child, just plays into a lot of baby-killer stereotypes that pro-lifers use to demonize women who choose to abort.

  • yes it does.

    it’s a roundabout way of saying that in order to be a child, you first have to be born – the unborn are not children, but fetuses.

    whether or not you agree with the statement, the statement is both semantically and syntactically coherent, even if you didn’t understand it.

  • Banrion

    Why is it wrong for this mother to address her unborn child the same way the vast majority of other social media mothers do? It’s not wrong for her to have compassion for this possible child and to mourn for what could have been if circumstances were different.

    There are newly pregnant women writing posts like this every single day to their fetuses. Ultrasounds are done practically weekly and posted for the world to see. MANY of those will also not come to term. We don’t shame those mothers for daring to acknowledge the pregnancy.

    I give not one fuck about what the anti’s perceive. They have been screaming about baby killers longer than I have been alive and they will continue to do so, there is no such thing as both being visibly in support of abortion and doing it in a way that the antis won’t start shrieking about baby killers.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    At the risk of distorting her message, I’ll take a guess: something like “No one aborts a person, because personhood begins at live birth.”

  • Banrion

    A fetus is alive, it is not independent, it is not a person, but it most certainly is alive. Has the argument gotten that far out of hand that now life and death are now meaningless words?

  • llDayo

    At best it could be considered a parasite but I pause on considering it alive. To me it’s organic matter capable of becoming a life form but hasn’t reached that point yet.

  • Tawreos

    I am glad she thought of the potential child in her decision to have the abortion and that it wasn’t a good time for the family as a whole. I do agree with others in that I wish she had not called it a baby, but only because it feeds into the forced birth notion that a fetus that is barely a month along in development is a living breathing human being.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I would comment on this but I am lacking a very import thing you need to comment on this: A uterus.

    I wonder how many of the thousands self righteous buttheads that comment on her FB have a penis and not a uterus.

  • Tawreos

    I don’t let a lack of qualification keep me silent on any issue, but I do think that my lack of a uterus would make me keep silent if I was ever in a position to legislate on it. At that time the opinions of those with the uterus would outweigh my own opinion.

  • Banrion

    You can choose to ignore scientific fact, but you are attempting to use a very worn argument, and you are doing it wrong. That argument only works when you are using words like person, baby, child. A fetus is none of those things. It is parasitic yes, but parasites are alive. Plants are alive. Lichen are obligate symbiotes for their entire lives and they are alive.

  • n=2^i – 1

    Her post calls to attention the arbitrary nature of what we consider murder. This is okay: 11/4/18-12/11/18. This gets you a ticket to prison: 11/4/17-12/11/18.

  • P. McCoy

    Well born children are human sentient beings too bad you see the 2 year old Ryan Berber baby in every fetal ultrasound.

  • Nope. it is not murder – sorry. It was a seven-week fetus.

  • llDayo

    Unfertilized chicken eggs aren’t considered alive yet they are also parasitic…relying on the host to develop. I’m also not sure what scientific fact you are referring to that I’m ignoring here. Everything I stated was opinion.

  • I’m just making the point that this isn’t about a Facebook post, it’s about our society’s discourse concerning abortion. Framing it as something that happens to unborn babies benefits the pro-lifers. Describing it in terms of a woman’s bodily autonomy and life choices benefits the pro-choice side. Whenever people talk about abortion without even mentioning the mother (or referring to her as the “womb”), for instance, I realize that the pro-lifers are steering the discourse to their advantage. And posting an ultrasound picture of a fetus to be aborted and giving it a “birthday” that coincides with its conception, is a win for the pro-life team.

    The idea of handing the pro-lifers propaganda on a silver platter bugs me, that’s all. If it doesn’t bug you, hey, that’s swell.

  • Why can’t she talk about her abortion in the same way women talk about miscarriage? She is allowed to grieve and share her experience – as long as it’s done in a way that is acceptable to you?

  • She can do whatever she pleases. I’m talking about the way our society’s discourse about abortion is geared toward pro-life sentimentality that erases women and makes the matter all about fetuses.

  • well, they are erasing the woman in this case by shaming her for even TALKING about the abortion. And pro-choice people are shaming her for not keeping it private. So she can’t win.

  • lady_black

    It does make sense. Child =/= fetus/embryo.

  • nope. not the same.

  • lady_black

    Now does it make sense?

  • Yes – you abort a fetus not a child

  • lady_black


  • clanhamilton

    Society also erases the men, as if they have nothing to do with getting her pregnant.

  • persephone

    I hate the argument that convenience is why women have abortions, that somehow the timing is just inconvenient. Well, yes, sometimes the timing is bad. But the timing may never be good. It costs, as of now, a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child. Nearly $250,000. How many women have that kind of income available? The very people who scream about women have abortions for convenience are the very same people voting to cut welfare and social programs that would help support parents.

    They hate it when I point out that the only Bible verses regarding abortion are not against it, nor are there any verses regarding birth control, despite the fact that both abortion and birth control were well known, especially in Egypt. The Hebrews leaving Egypt had generations of information on abortion and birth control, yet nothing in the Bible speaks about them. If they were important, there would have been scripture written.

  • lady_black

    The fetus is alive. But it’s entire existence depends upon the consent of another to the use of her body. As with any use of someone else’s body, she may not want to do that. End of story.

  • lady_black

    Mama’s baby. Papa’s, maybe.

  • lady_black

    On The Nose!

  • lady_black

    Murder is a legal term. It doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means.

  • Anat

    Eggs are alive upon being laid. They are not organisms, but they are living cells. I don’t know if they die over the course of the time between then and being cooked, but if not then cooking definitely kills them.

  • Greg Stueve

    Whatever anyone thinks (I happen to see nothing wrong with her post) this young woman demonstrated that Facebook has jumped the shark.

  • Jim Jones

    And going after Clinton’s dick is what got us all the talk of penises and vaginas on TV. Thanks, GOP.

  • Lizard

    IIRC, a major driving force behind the recent legalization of abortion in Ireland were several highly-publicized cases about what pregnant women went through to get an abortion, and people realized how fucked up that was.

    I mean, I don’t think people on either side (except maybe activists) realize just how many women will have an abortion at some point in their lives.

  • Lizard

    I like it because so much of the anti-choice movement’s rhetoric is geared around framing pregnant women as too stupid to understand what they’re actually doing. “Look at these baby pictures! Aren’t they adorable? Don’t you want one? You know you’re murdering that, right?!” as if she doesn’t know what abortion even is. It’s infantilizing and dehumanizing. (Also misleading, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.) I like that she acknowledged that she’s perfectly aware of the implications of this action, and that’s a decision she has a right to make.

  • Lizard

    Another handy factoid against anti-choicers is that the majority of women seeking abortions already have at least one child. Less than a quarter get more than one, and a fraction of a percent get more than two. They frame abortion as occurring among amoral young women who just want to party and sleep around without birth control or consequences*, but they’d really be closer picturing working moms picking up their toddlers from daycare.

    *Which also doesn’t make any sense because an abortion is dozens of times more expensive and difficult to obtain than most birth control methods but when have facts ever stopped them?

  • Lizard

    It’s alive in the scientific sense because a fetus possesses cells with metabolic pathways. Where I think people trip up is that “alive,” in this sense, is not very meaningful. Bacteria are alive, but we kill them with antibiotics when they threaten our health. A cancer is alive; does that mean you wouldn’t want it removed? There are all sorts of parasites that we would absolutely consider “alive” but cannot survive outside of their hosts.

    Whether or not it’s sentient life, much less sentient life deserving of more rights than the host it needs to survive, is another argument entirely.

  • Brent Tharp

    Not all people who comment on a post are “friends.” This could have been written better.

  • Xena Warrior

    Eggs may or may not be fertilized. If they are not fertilized then they are not alive.

  • stavrs

    Just a parasite at this point.

    All this pro-“life” narrative refuses to acknowledge the woman carrying the fetus as a person; you reduce her to the role of a living incubator, nothing more.
    When she choses to continue the pregnancy, then she willingfully assumes that role, and everything that goes with it. If she doesn’t want to do that, then too bad.. That baby would never meant to be. So simple.

  • XORY

    She’s been reduced to a pawn in the battle with the “pro-life team”. Seriously, a single human’s lived experience is just fodder for an online pissing match? Yuck.

    THAT “bugs” me.

    Because we live in a country (a world?) where birth control isn’t available as a general public health benefit, women’s careers are undervalued, paid time off for pregnancy, birth and early child care are barely offerred, if at all, and paternal responsibility is not enforced, its not humane or useful for us to chime in and judge the difficult decisions women must make. Perhaps this story is not uncommon and we should sit and listen and #believeher; this is her truth from her perspective. Honestly, critique, spin and political posturing applied to life perspectives we ourselves will never live, is meaningless and cruel.

    Instead, the nabobs of the Internet shame and silence and judge and force the “narrative” to something that fits with whatever pro- or con- agenda we already believe. She posted her story to let the world know where she was coming from. It’s not the opening salvo in a debate; it’s a peephole view into an entire world of experience, happenning every day all over the world. It is to be read, absorbed and contemplated. We’re priveledged to have the oportunity to do so and should, if anything, thank her for her candor.

  • Sophotroph

    =/= is a symbol meaning “is not not equal to”.

    Might have needed some clarification because it looks like you two agree.

  • first off, this is my forum. I’m the author of this column. If you come here, and BOTH of you I’ve never seen before, I expect you to be respectful to me. I didn’t understand the statement initially – but I understand now. And you are fighting the WRONG fight here because I’m pro-choice, wrote the piece, and being argumentative with me – will get you a ticket off this page. You are both warned.

  • exactly. But Lady Black is new to this page Sophotroph – unlike you – who know that I am not an asshole and treat my commenters with respect. Something she hasn’t quite learned

  • thank you so much for this!

  • Anat

    This is poor biology. Almost every cell in your body is alive. If detached from your body it will eventually die from lack of nourishment, but it will be alive until then. Egg and sperm are alive – they are metabolically active, they consume energy, they regulate their internal environment.

  • lady_black

    I wasn’t argumentative with you, EVER. I know you are pro-choice. That’s why I like your forum. I don’t know who you mean by both.

  • Ok! just making. sure 🙂

  • lady_black

    Don’t mind me. I’m Asperger’s and tend to put things bluntly. I’ve been on Patheos Non-religious for years. I recently noticed your blog spot on the page, and it’s good. It should get more traffic.

  • thank you very much. The blog rolled out in July – but I’ve been writing professionally for years. The blog gets a LOT of traffic 🙂 I’m actually quite surprised at how well it’s doing

  • Katherine A.

    Many times whenever there is a piece about women talking about their abortions- there are women who talk about it with their identities concealed. In YouTube videos or things that end up on YouTube, the women talk about their abortions in shadow so their faces can’t be seen. It is a trope that persists because there is a stigma against abortion. Maybe some of the women in shadow just want privacy while talking about this but the others are afraid of harassment, abuse, and judgement that people would throw at them. The stigma is a powerful weapon of the anti-choice crowd. The more people who talk about their abortions freely the more we can break the stigma. This will take that weapon away from them and maybe some day, women will not need to talk about their abortions in shadows.