The Website Fighting Fake News about Women’s Bodies
When I was in my early twenties, I had an unwanted pregnancy and needed to find out how to have an abortion. I turned to Google for information, typing in “medical abortion”. Back then, among the first few results to appear on the search engine were two sites that were very well presented, filled with various encyclopedia-like articles about different elements of the procedure. They appeared to be neutral, informative sites, and at first, I took them at face value. Only as I read deeper did I realise what a sober image of abortion came out of these sites.
They were covered in stock photos of sobbing women, holding their faces in their hands. One of them showed a banner image of an ultrasound, with the words: “Everything seems to have turned upside down. You are overwhelmed by fear and loneliness. What should you do?” The article went on to stress that women should take their time and make the decision, underlining what an important, life-changing choice it was. The way it was phrased made it sound as though having an abortion was a rushed decision, that it was always a knee-jerk reaction, and that the natural outcome of thinking it through was to stay pregnant.
The sites also cited many pseudo-scientific studies, but upon examination, they were funded by anti-abortion groups and were not peer-reviewed, factual articles but hastily cobbled together, clearly political, texts, with titles like “Abortion and Mortality rates in women: Mortality rates are three times higher after an abortion than after a birth”, or “Clinical depression after an abortion”. The articles were accompanied by anonymous testimonials. The site curators underline the most dramatic quotes, such as:
“I feel like I betrayed my maternal instinct. It was my duty to protect this little thing that was inside me, and instead I did everything I could to get rid of it.”
“I feel broken. I cry a lot and think of the baby every day. But there is no going back.”