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Viral social media campaign #youknowme asks women to share their abortion stories

Ala. signs near-total abortion ban into law
Alabama governor signs country's most restrictive abortion ban into law 03:15

The Alabama State Senate voted Tuesday to pass the nation's most restrictive abortion bill and -- before it was signed into law by the state's governor less than 24 hours later -- actress Busy Philipps took to social media to encourage women to speak about their abortion stories. With the hashtag #youknowme, a viral internet campaign was born — one some are comparing to the famous #MeToo movement.

"1 in 4 women have had an abortion," wrote Philipps on Twitter early Wednesday morning. "Many people think they don't know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let's do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let's share it and start to end the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth."

The tweet, which has nearly 10,000 retweets and almost 50,000 likes, quickly went viral as women shared their abortions using #youknowme. Some users' stories centered around emotional tales of sexual abuse or assault.

"I was sixteen. I had been raped by a school volunteer," wrote user @TheSaltWell. "The fetus had caused internal bleeding and I was fifteen minutes from dying. I was a Sophomore in high school...dying because of the choice of one man. It was either me or the fetus that was going to die anyway. #youknowme."

"F****** hard for me to put this out but, the condom was removed without my consent - I was drunk and asked far too late — and the morning after pill didn't work," user @alltheseasons_ wrote. "#Youknowme and it's time I didn't feel so ashamed of this."

Other women explained that they felt they were not ready to take on the responsibility of having a child. "I had an abortion," tweeted actress Linsey Godfrey. "I just simply wasn't in a place, financially or emotionally to take that on. I was and still am glad I had that choice because that's exactly what it was, it was my choice, my body. #YouKnowMe"

While some users explained they wanted to keep the baby, but it wasn't medically possible. "I was 26, happily married and excited for the pregnancy, " wrote @seash1492. "We got a non compatible with life diagnosis - the skull didn't form. We ended the pregnancy at 13 weeks. We made the best choice for us and now have a happy and healthy baby #youknowme #1in4."

Many celebrities and public figures joined in on the hashtag, including the former head of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards, actress Amber Tamblyn, model Tess Holliday and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. Nixon shared the story of her mother's illegal abortion, as well as the legal abortion of her wife using the hashtag.

Lena Headey, who played Cersei Lannister on "Game of Thrones" even posted a screenshot of Philipps' tweet to Instagram, using the hashtag in the comment.

The #youknowme campaign isn't the first time Philipps has spoken about her abortion and tried to raise awareness of restrictive anti-abortion legislation. During last Tuesday's episode of her late-night talk show "Busy Tonight," Philipps spoke candidly about her opposition to Georgia's new controversial abortion law, which would prohibit abortion after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo. That is something that usually happens between five and six weeks into a women's pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

During the emotional message, the star spoke to why the issue is so important to her — because she had an abortion as a teen. The language she used appears to be a jumping off point for the hashtag. "The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45," she said to the camera last week. "That statistic sometimes surprises people, and maybe you're sitting there thinking, 'I don't know a woman who would have an abortion,' she said. "Well, you know me."

She also spoke about her abortion in her 2018 book "This Will Only Hurt a Little." 

Both the Alabama and Georgia laws are the latest in an onslaught of state-level anti-abortion legislation that aim to dismantle Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that constitutionally protects a woman's legal right to an abortion.

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