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Thursday, February 25, 2010

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). 


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