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Amelia Bonow

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Amelia Bonow is the Founding Director  of #ShoutYourAbortion, a movement dedicated to broadening the existing cultural discourse around abortion.  In 2015, Bonow’s abortion disclosure inspired a viral outpouring of abortion stories on social media, receiving front page coverage from The New York Times, LA Times, as well as The New Yorker, ABC’s Nightline, The BBC, Al Jazeera, and CNN. Bonow put her graduate program on hold and began developing SYA into a nationwide movement geared towards creating places for women to discuss their abortions, online, in art and media, and in real life events all over the country. In 2017, #ShoutYourAbortion’s website won a Webby Award for activism. Bonow proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Abortion Care Network and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily NewsBUST Magazine, Salon, and The Stranger.  In 2016, Bonow received the Hammer and Chisel Award from filmmaker Michael Moore, and she has spoken and received awards from Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country.

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Shout Your Abortion
Editors: Amelia Bonow and Emily Nokes • Foreword: Lindy West
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-573-6
Published: 11/01/2018
Format: Paperback
Size: 8x10
Page count: 256
Subjects: Feminism & Feminist Theory / Health Care

Following the U.S. Congress’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion became a viral conduit for abortion storytelling, receiving extensive media coverage and positioning real human experiences at the center of America’s abortion debate for the very first time. The online momentum sparked a grassroots movement that has subsequently inspired countless individuals to share their abortion stories in art, media, and community events all over the country, and to begin building platforms for others to do the same.

Shout Your Abortion is a collection of photos, essays, and creative work inspired by the movement of the same name, a template for building new communities of healing, and a call to action. Since SYA’s inception, people all over the country have shared stories and begun organizing in a range of ways: making art, hosting comedy shows, creating abortion-positive clothing, altering billboards, starting conversations that had never happened before. This book documents some of these projects and illuminates the individuals who have breathed life into this movement, illustrating the profound liberatory and political power of defying shame and claiming sole authorship of our experiences. With Roe vs. Wade on the brink of reversal, the act of shouting one’s abortion has become explicitly radical, and Shout Your Abortion is needed more urgently than ever before.

Shout Your Abortion reflects what makes me most hopeful for this next century, that there’s a whole new generation of young people who refuse to be judged and shamed about who they are, whether it’s their gender identity, their sexual orientation, or what they do with their body.”
—Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America

“By presenting a collection of nuanced narratives, Shout Your Abortion aims to advance a message of broader acceptance: If your abortion experience was hard and sad, that’s okay. If your abortion experience wasn’t hard or sad, that’s also okay. This marks a significant tonal shift in the cultural conversation about abortion.”
—Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post

Shout Your Abortion has altered the landscape. We all knew that abortion stigma was a central tool in keeping women silent and isolated. Amelia Bonow busted down that door and women poured through it like a dam had burst.”
—Martha Plimpton, actor and cofounder of A is For

“Zora Neale Hurston said that if you are silent about your pain, people will kill you and say that you enjoyed it. Shout Your Abortion is reducing pain by helping all to reject stigmatizing abortion silence. That too is life’s work.”
—Dr. Willie Parker, author of Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice

“It’s been so inspiring for me to see a woman making that stand, building the movement, bringing our stories forward…because really, this is what it’s going to take. It’s going to take all of us. And we will take the political revolution, with #ShoutYourAbortion and everything else we’re trying to do, to the U.S. Congress. All of us together.”
—Pramila Jayapal, U.S. Representative for Washington’s 7th District

"Shout Your Abortion embodies everything that society so desperately craves in this moment: compassion over cruelty, fact over fiction, and storytelling over silence. The shared experience of one in four women powerfully illustrated on these pages is tangible evidence of our collective strength when we join hands and speak our truth together."
—Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

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What Others are Saying

syaShout Your Abortion in Oprah
By Michelle Darrisaw
The Oprah Magazine
May 17th, 2019

"Shout Your Abortion gets its cues from the viral hashtag and campaign started on Twitter in September 2015. The 2018 book includes more than 250 pages of personal testimonies from women who have had an abortion, as well as administrators and medical professionals who have performed the procedure. "

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syaHow Anti-Abortion Rhetoric Shapes Pro-Choice Advocacy
By Marie Solis
April 2nd, 2019

"One of the contemporary iterations of this phenomenon is Shout Your Abortion, an abortion storytelling platform a woman named Amelia Bonow started by accident in 2015. Following a congressional vote to defund Planned Parenthood, Bonow wrote a Facebook post about the positive experience she had getting an abortion at Planned Parenthood the year before. Days later, she took her story to Twitter, this time tagging it #ShoutYourAbortion; in just two weeks, more than 150,000 other posts cropped up using the same tag. “There’s something about talking about your life on your own terms that’s just unassailable,” Bonow said.

Four years later, the hashtag is still widely used, and pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood have launched their own storytelling campaigns to speak out against abortion restrictions on the state and federal level. "

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syaShout Your Abortion on Lithub
By  Kaylen Ralph
March 1st, 2019

"Shout Your Abortion includes 40-plus first-person essays by people recounting their abortion experiences in addition to a handful of comics and photographs speaking to the same. In addition to essays and artwork, Shout Your Abortion offers interviews with abortion providers as well as additional resources on reproductive care. The diversity of perspectives and mediums adds an additional layer to the confessional, consciousness-raising narrative of the 1960s and 70s."

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sya7 Books About Why We Need to Normalize Abortion
By Ameila Bonow
Electric Literature

January 22nd, 2019

"In 2015, my own abortion disclosure ignited a viral outpouring of stories via the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. Shout Your Abortion has subsequently evolved into a movement and a full-fledged organization, working to create places in art, media and real-life events all over the country for people to talk about their abortion experiences. SYA is not just for people who’ve had abortions, and people who have had abortions are not simply deciding to shout about them for their own personal empowerment; we’re doing this for everyone. The prevailing silence is toxic for everyone. And this whole country will go up in flames without abortion access. We’ll never be able to fight for it unless we learn to talk about it."

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syaLindy West tells Trevor Noah #ShoutYourAbortion takes back the issue from a “tiny fringe”
By Dennis Perkins
AV Club
November 30th, 2018

Author, activist, and person perennially taking no shit Lindy West appeared on Thursday’s Daily Show to explain the title of her new book, Shout Your Abortion. Started as a hashtag online in 2015 (because, 2015), the phrase was originally appended to a friend’s strikingly honest story of how her own decision to terminate a pregnancy was both the right choice, and her right as a human being. Intended to counter the then-current and completely bullshit “Planned Parenthood is a baby-parts factory” propaganda films making the rounds of your most gullible relatives’ Facebook pages, that one post started a movement that, West told Trevor Noah, seeks to take back the conversation about abortion from “a tiny fringe group controlling the narrative.”

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syaThe 10 Best Books We Read in 2018
By Laura Winnick
November 14th, 2018

Shout Your Abortion is a timely, revelatory collection of personal essays expressing the intimate details of having an abortion—not necessarily the procedure itself, but the all-encompassing events, feelings, and moment. The multi-media project, first started as a series of zines, includes a narrative around the cultural project itself (how it began, media images of zines, trajectory of hashtags). The glossy book is organized into sections—Formation, Shouts, Providers, and Reverberation—all beautifully illustrated with graphics, photos, and comics. The project is one of ownership and authority, expressing how narrating our experiences, even via social media hashtags, gives us access to truth, community, and liberation.

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syaThe best coffee table book you can buy is about abortion
By Zosha Millman
November 7th, 2018

Regardless of your comfort level with the conversation, you can start by picking up this book and reading people's abortion stories -- which might not be a thing that you've ever done before, and I think might be a thing that most of us haven't done before, because most of us haven't really had a culture that talks about abortion. ... I think that there's something that works well about presenting a whole bunch of different people doing a whole bunch of different things and trusting that the reader will be able to find something in this sea of documentation of individuals that resonates with them.

And so I think we wanted the book to feel the same way, and really represent the vast and amorphous nature of this movement, and what it's been in the last few years. Which is just this really free-form idea that people can talk about their abortions however they want, and that that looks all sorts of different ways depending on who you are, where you live, what your community is like, and how you feel about it.

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syaAfter my abortion I felt relieved - and I'm in the majority
By Lindy West
November 1st, 2018

But here’s the thing: Abortion as a liberal issue is not exactly truth—it’s branding. Abortion as a “debate” is not truth—it’s branding. We know, because care providers know, that Democrats have abortions, Republicans have abortions, rich women have abortions, poor women have abortions, women of faith, women with children, anti-choice women, rural women, suburban women, women in cities, the proverbial white working-class women. Trans men have abortions, and gender-nonconforming people have abortions. It seems counterintuitive, but I believe abortion has the potential to be one of our most unifying issues. It cuts through all of those boundaries: race, class, geography, religion. The key is to drag abortion out of that partisan framework entirely.

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syaShout Your Abortion is Changing the Conversation
By Caroline Reilly
Bitch Magazine
November 1st, 2018

Bonow believes in the importance of acknowledging that people have abortions for different reasons. This is a reality strongly reflected in the pages of the book, which highlights abortion stories from cisgender women as well as gender-nonconforming and trans people and stories of people having the procedure before Roe v. Wade. The book features people of all ages who are living all over the country and abroad, including people who are religious, punks, sex workers, or mothers already. There are people for whom the abortion decision was hard, and others for whom it was easy; and people who are speaking openly and clearly about their abortions, and those who have chosen to remain anonymous. All these perspectives and more create a living, breathing, sparkling manifestation of the truth that people who have abortions are not a monolith; and that in and of itself speaks to the normalcy of abortion and the absurdity of its stigma.

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syaShout Your Abortion’s Amelia Bonow is ready to fight
By Leah Baltus
City Arts
October 26th, 2018

Shout Your Abortion went from hashtag to movement at lightning speed in 2015. Since then, cofounder Amelia Bonow has been working to center human experiences in the debate over abortion, manifesting everything from button- making parties to huge outdoor photo projections in cities across the U.S. Shout Your Abortion, a 239-page book out Nov. 1 from PM Press, edited by Bonow and Emily Nokes (who also designed it), collects the abortion stories of dozens of women in their own words, as well as interviews with providers and various abortion resources.

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syaShout Your Abortion - 11 feminist books to gift your bestie who’s busy smashing the patriarchy
By Elizabeth Enteman
Hello Giggles
October 24th, 2018

After Congress tried to defund Planned Parenthood, women began sharing personal stories on social media with the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag. Now, the movement has become a collection of photos, essays, and other creative work. Because reminder: abortion is a normal part of women’s reproductive health.

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syaShout Your Abortion - in Bitchreads
By Evette Dionne
Bitch Mag
October 10th, 2018

"For decades, taking down Planned Parenthood has been a pet project of America’s anti-choice legislators. In 2015, after Congressional Republicans failed in their attempt to defund the nation’s largest women’s-healthcare provider, Seattle activist Amelia Bonow posted on Facebook that she wanted to hear women refuse to be ashamed of their abortions. Less than two weeks later, Bonow’s friend Lindy West created the Twitter hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion, and within days more than 150,000 tweets used the hashtag just as Bonow had hoped. Three years later, as the Trump administration sets its sights on repealing Roe v. Wade, talking about abortion without shame is more vital than ever, and Shout Your Abortion, a collection of 43 personal accounts curated by Bonow, feels timely and crucial."

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syaShout Your Abortion: An Interview
By Brie Ripley
September 14th, 2018

"...While each one of their stories is unique, none of them are sorry. That is, perhaps, the binding theme throughout this collection. Medical care providers echo this sentiment in the book too, detailing their commitment to providing safe, legal abortions.

We spoke with Bonow to learn about the unapologetic stories and abortion art in the book, and to discuss the new wave of abortion stories being told online right now..."


syaHow One Woman Became an Activist With the Hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion
By Amelia Bonow
O magazine
September 2018

"With my Facebook post, I put everything on the line—it never occurred to me to go back to school or continue my life as it had been. #ShoutYourAbortion has been tweeted more than 300,000 times. We’re a legit organization, and we’ll publish our first book this fall. The other day, I told the whole story to a guy in a bar, and he said, "What you’re doing takes real balls." I corrected him: "I think you mean ovaries."

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