Emily Letts' Abortion Video

Emily Letts' Abortion Video

Updated May 09, 2014 at 12:20AM EDT by Brad.

Added May 07, 2014 at 01:44PM EDT by Molly Horan.

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About

Emily Letts’ Abortion Video refers to a short documentary film shot by a New Jersey abortion clinic counselor as she underwent an early term abortion in November 2013. Due to the polarized public opinion surrounding this practice, the video, which focuses on the woman’s reaction from the chest up throughout the procedure, inevitably led to an online debate between the pro-choice and pro-life camps in the American political blogosphere.

Background

On March 14th, 2014, Emily Letts uploaded a video titled “Emily’s Abortion Video” to her YouTube channel (shown below).[1] In the video, she explains her occupational background as a patient advocate at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey and how she had made the decision to end her early-stage pregnancy. The video also shows Letts’ reaction from the chest up throughout the course of the procedure.


“I just want to show woman there is such a thing as a positive abortion story.”


In late March 2014 , she won the Abortion Care Network’s[3] Abortion Stigma Busting Video Competition. As of May 2014, the video has been viewed over 530,000 times.

Notable Developments

News Media Coverage

Though Letts’ video was uploaded in March, it didn’t gain widespread attention online until Cosmopolitan[2] published her personal essay “Why I Filmed My Abortion,” on May 5th, 2014. In the piece, she explains that she was inspired to record her experience after watching YouTuber Angie AntiTheist’s video[4] of herself intaking Mifepristone (RU486), at which point she realized there wasn’t a similar video online showing a surgical abortion. On May 5th and 6th, he video was covered by several sites including Think Progress[7], Buzzfeed[12] and Salon.[13] Letts received positive feedback from sites like Autostraddle[8] which published a piece titled “Emily Letts’ Decision to Film Her Abortion is Brave, Informative, Important,” and Policy Mic’s[9] “One Woman Destroyed The Biggest Pro-Life Myth By Filming Her Own Abortion,” both published on May 6th.

Backlash

Because of the politics surrounding abortion, Letts video prompted many angry articles on conservative websites and blogs. On May 5th, 2014, Gateway Pundit,[6] a “right-of-center” news site, published a post titled “HORROR! Far Left Activist FILMS Her Own Abortion!” The same day USA Backlash[10], which describes itself as a “Backlash Against Government Corruption & Hypocrisy,” published an article titled “Skanky New Jersey Abortion Clinic Councilor Emily Letts Films Murder of Own Baby to Show How ‘Cool’ It Is.” On May 6th, Fox News[11] published a post titled “Dr. Manny: Video of woman filming her own abortion fails to tell the whole story,” which criticizes the video for not addressing the possible complications of the procedure. On May 7th, The Huffington Post[5] published a post titled “Emily Letts’ Abortion Video Garners Angry Reaction From Right-Wing Media,” which featured a roundup of the backlash towards the video.

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