Friday, February 26, 2010

Live Tweeting Abortion

If you spend a decent amount of time on twitter, as I do, then you have likely heard of #livetweetingabortion. The story begins with Angie the Anti-Theist. When birth control failed Angie, she was faced with a decision that many women come to face but few share in such glaring detail. For several days, Angie shared some of the most personal details of her medication-abortion.

Aside from my general interest in the reproductive justice movement, I also became fascinated by the strategic political characteristics of Angie's actions. One of the major hurdles that has hampered the power of pro-choice activists has been the secrecy and privacy surrounding reproductive health care. It is understandable. As a man, my reproductive health care has always been incredibly personal and private, so it is hard for me to call on women to share their story.

Yet as a former community organizer, I know there is no more powerful tool than that of storytelling. Storytelling creates a sense of empathy. Storytelling helped President Barack Obama demonstrate that as unique as his story was, it was uniquely American and something that all of us, regardless of race, age, or social status could relate to. Storytelling made it possible for progressive activists to build a formidable army able to stand up in the face of enormous money and resources from insurance company lobbyists.

The question is, will #livetweetingabortion catch on? If so, will it have the same effect on the reproductive justice movement as it has had on a variety of other issues? If so, it was a remarkably genius use of online technology and new media to foster a greater sense of community.

For more on #livetweetingabortion check out The Abortioneers story on it.
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