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Alabama abortion ban triggers Twitter reaction storm

Singer Lady Gaga led the chorus of outraged voices with many women tweeting under the hashtag #YouKnowMe to declare they had abortions and were unashamed.

FILE: Pro-choice activists hold signs in response to anti-abortion activists participating in the "March for Life," an annual event to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalised abortion in the US, outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, 18 January 2019. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Celebrities, activists and politicians swarmed social media to air their opinions on a new law, signed on Wednesday, that almost totally bans abortion in Alabama.

Singer Lady Gaga led the chorus of outraged voices with many women tweeting under the hashtag #YouKnowMe to declare they had abortions and were unashamed.

Abortion opponents celebrated the measure as a way to stop the murder of unborn babies.

Here is a sampling of Twitter posts and hashtags:

Lady Gaga (@ladygaga), 78.6 million followers: “It is an outrage to ban abortion in Alabama period, and all the more heinous that it excludes those who have been raped or are experiencing incest non-consensual or not. So there’s a higher penalty for doctors who perform these operations than for most rapists?” #NoUterusNoOpinion

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC), 4.17 million followers: “Abortion bans aren’t just about controlling women’s bodies. They’re about controlling women’s sexuality. Owning women. From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, US religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology.”

Actress-activist Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano), 3.57 million followers: “There have been nearly 30 bans on abortion introduced, passed, or signed into law in statehouses around the country this year alone. This is Trump’s anti-choice agenda and part of the GOP’s war on women.” #WomensRightsAreHumanRights

Former Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards), 191,000 followers: “I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me, and it wasn’t a hard one. My husband and I were working more than full time and had three kids already. I was fortunate that, at the time, accessing abortion in TX was not the nightmare it is now.”

Actress Busy Philipps (@BusyPhilipps), 369,000 followers: “1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but #youknowme.”

Political analyst Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell), 17,300 followers: “I had an abortion when I was 18 years old. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about it on here but I’m not ashamed so I’m sharing today because if #youknowme then you know someone who has had an abortion.”

US Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono), 393,000 followers: “As an advocate for abortion rights for decades, I fear that women in this country will soon wake up and realize they no longer have control over their own bodies. We must continue to raise our voices and fight back against @realDonaldTrump and Republicans’ harmful policies.”

From the anti-abortion side:

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey), 35,200 followers: “Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

Journalist Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog), 225,000 followers: “A woman just signed the Alabama abortion bill into law. The patriarchy is a lot more feminine than I expected.” ... “A baby conceived in rape is not any less a person than one conceived consensually.”

Journalist Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro), 2.14 million followers: “Life is a right. In fact, unlike abortion, which is not a right, life is specified directly in the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and remains the most fundamental right of all.” #AbortionIsAWomansRight

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