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#ShoutYourAbortion trends worldwide as women breakdown stigma

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Women around the world are taking to social media to reveal the story behind their abortions, in a bid to break down the stigma surrounding discussion of the topic.

The #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag was coined by American journalist Lindy West on Friday, after politicians threatened to block the funding of Planned Parenthood, the leading family planning association in the US and a key provider of abortion services.

While politicians went head to head over the debate, journalist West along with fellow abortion activists Amelia Bonow and Kimberly Morrison took to Twitter.

Sharing a tweet from Bonow about the story of her abortion, West’s initial message reads: “The campaign to defund PP ‘relies on the assumption that abortion is to be whispered about.’ #ShoutYourAbortion.”

The writer then went on to share her own abortion story using the same hashtag, as women everywhere began to do the same.

The debate over funding comes about as a hidden camera video, edited and released by the Centre for Medical Progress (which wants to make abortion illegal), claims that Planned Parenthood is making profit from the sale of aborted foetal body parts.

The video supposedly captures a meeting between representatives of the organisation, as they discuss the selling of foetal tissue for research purposes.

While the women’s health organisation has strongly denied claims that it makes any profit this way, medical researchers have warned that ending the donation of foetal tissue may impact progress towards finding cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes.

An investigation has been launched in response to the video, and government funding which goes toward services offered by Planned Parenthood but not the provision of abortions, has been halted for the next year.

Republicans are now battling to defund the organisation completely (though Barack Obama has promised to veto such legislation should it land on his desk), which uses the money to offer cancer screenings, contraceptives and health support for women.

Pro abortion protest campaigner

Around 70,000 people have since tweeted about #ShoutYourAbortion, while the hashtag has trended in America, Australia, the UK and also Ireland, where abortions are still illegal.

Some campaigners are now hijacking the hashtag to make their anti-abortion views heard, but it has already been used by women the world over to share their experiences.

Some explain how an abortion in the past has let them become capable, loving mothers now, while others open up about how they have never wanted children, and discuss how access to a safe abortion has helped them to go on to live a better, more fulfilling life.

Read just a few of the very many #ShoutYourAbortion tweets below...

Images: Rex Features from the 3rd Annual March for Choice, Dublin, Ireland

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