Washington Congressional candidate Darcy Burner was a hit at June’s Netroots Nation speech, where she asked women who have had an abortion to stand up and be recognized rather than hide in a cloak of secrecy. Since then, the right wing noise machine has accused her of “cheering on abortion.”
Burner talked to Alternet about the ensuing faux-scandal:
DB: In my keynote I was talking about how we go on offense in the “war on women.” That was the topic of the conversation. I was talking about the different forms of power that we can apply to the problem.
One of them is cultural power. What stories do people have in their heads about issues? It turns out that one in three American women will have an abortion at some time in her life, but it is an issue that is kept so much in the closet that most people have no idea that their sisters, mothers, daughter or their friends have had abortions. The LGBT movement has done this amazing job of using the idea of coming out of the closet to change the stories in people’s heads about who it is that the right wing is demonizing when they condemn gay marriage. We’ve seen tremendous progress on that issue by helping people understand that these are their friends, neighbors and loved ones who are being talked about.
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So I had suggested that one thing we could do to go on offense would be for women to come out of the closet about having had abortions. And I asked women who were comfortable standing up to do so — to indicate that they were one of the people who had an abortion. A bunch of women — somewhere around 150 women in the room — stood up and I said, “Now all of you who are willing to stand with these women and every woman like them please join them.” At which point roughly all of the 2,000 people in the room stood with those women who had been courageous enough to stand up first.
It was at that point that the applause happened – it was for the courage of those women. I talked later to some of the women who had stood, and they said it was the first time in their lives they had felt like they weren’t completely isolated on this issue — that there was a community of people who loved them and who would support them. It made a great difference.
Read Burner’s full Alternet interview here, and see her speech here.