Oprah Winfrey has been absent from the spotlight since making her debut campaign speech at the Oscars earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean she’s been on the sidelines of political debate.
The July 2018 issue of Winfrey’s namesake magazine, Oprah, features a glowing profile on Amelia Bonow, the woman who coined the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag, and began a campaign to both promote the “benefits” of Planned Parenthood’s signature medical procedure and implicitly silence women who say the were hurt by their own abortion.
Bonow is hailed as “inspirational,” under an article subhead.
“Inspirational” may, in fact, be one way to describe Bonow, but it’s possible she doesn’t inspire women the way Oprah’s signature magazine believes she should.
“[W]hen I found out that the House of Representatives had voted to defund Planned Parenthood. I kind of unraveled,” Bonow writes in the magazine. “I opened Facebook and, without thinking, wrote, ‘Like a year ago, I had an abortion at Planned Parenthood…and I remember this experience with a nearly inexpressible level of gratitude.’ I hit Post 153 words later, and everything changed.”
Bonow says she had no shame or regret ending her unplanned pregnancy: “On some level, I’d internalized the stigma—though I honestly wasn’t ashamed. Then why hide?” — and that’s fine, but her experience is not representative of every woman who’s gone through Planned Parenthood’s front doors. A recent study in the British Journal of Psychiatry noted that women do suffer a mental impact from abortion, and that recognition of the connection and aftercare treatment is often needed, if seldom provided.
Bonow, of course, chalks the post-abortion mental impact up to “anti-choice rhetoric” which stigmatizes the procedure.
“The anti- choice movement wants it to be terrifying to speak the truth, because we can’t advocate for something we can’t say out loud,” she writes.
Oprah Winfrey is, no doubt, left-leaning, but her magazine is supposed to be about female empowerment. Denying the impact of abortion on women is anything but empowering.