"We had abortions" -- and outing ourselves was our choice

AOL poll misleads readers about Ms. cover story.


Lynn Harris
October 5, 2006 12:22AM (UTC)

Abortion isnt getting the best P.R. these days -- even, arguably, from some of its supporters; you know we're in a pickle when even pro-choice activists are accused of helping to stigmatize abortion by partnering with their opponents to prevent it. In that context comes Ms. magazine's counterpunch: the fall issue cover story, due out next week, titled "We Had Abortions." The article -- actually a reprise of an even more daring piece in its 1972 debut issue -- is accompanied by the names of only a fraction of the thousands of women who stepped up to sign Ms.'s petition.

This campaign's not the only one to take this go-public tack: There are Planned Parenthood's "I had an abortion" T-shirts," the documentary "Speak Out: I Had an Abortion," the Web site ImNotSorry.net. But right this minute, this one's getting a lot of ink, some of the high-dudgeon variety (Judie Brown of the American Life League used the word "evil"), and some simply -- but seriously -- misleading. While the text of this AP article, a cover story itself on today's AOL, makes it clear that the women who participated chose to name themselves, AOL's headline -- "Women With Abortions Named" -- makes it sound like Ms. outed them.

Advertisement:

So, perhaps worse, does the accompanying poll question: "What do you think of Ms. magazine's naming of women who had abortions?" Well, when you put it that way! Perhaps not surprisingly, "It's a bad idea" is currently leading "It's a good idea" by a small margin. Anyone wanna head over to AOL and help fix that?

Update: Per Ms.'s request, AOL has amended the language of the poll question. What do you think of Ms. magazine's listing of women who had abortions? Doesn't sound a heckuva lot better to me, however. So your vote still counts!


Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

MORE FROM Lynn Harris

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Aol Broadsheet Love And Sex

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •