Abortion and Miscarriage: Too Heavy for a Tweet

By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For those whose lives revolve primarily around real people in real time and real space, hurry, go hide.

Here's what you missed in the social networking universe the past few days: the twittered miscarriage.

The banality of twittery just out-twitted itself.

Yes, the tweet that gave even the virtual world pause came from one Penelope Trunk, 42-year-old chief executive of a blog called Brazen Careerist, where women can find advice about balancing work and family.

Trunk tweeted while in a board meeting late last month that she was having a miscarriage -- and how great is that? Beats the abortion she was planning to have, which would have meant missing two days of work since she would have had to go all the way to Chicago. Apparently, there's a waiting list in Wisconsin, where Trunk lives.

Her tweet, as tweets must be, was succinct:

"I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a f----- -up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin."

Where, oh, where is Flannery O'Connor when we need her? If she were still roaming around Milledgeville, we can be fairly certain she wouldn't be tweeting. But one might hope that O'Connor would put pen to paper and expose today's sideshow for what it is. Once asked why the grotesque is so alive in the South, the author said it's because Southerners can still recognize a freak.

Is there anything much more grotesque or freakish than a woman essentially celebrating her miscarriage in a public venue? Or, as another blogger phrased the question: "Tweeting Your Miscarriage or Abortion: Good for Women?"

It is somewhat reassuring that many of those responding were less than approving, if short on condemnation. There seems to be a reluctance among young social networkers to be judgmental. So parental. As in, it's not my thing, but to each her own. TMI (too much information) was a common remark. Many correctly observed that tweeting, given its 140-character limit, trivializes something as serious as miscarriage or abortion.

In an interview with CNN's Rick Sanchez, Trunk demurred. Like it or not, abortion is a right, she said, and women should feel comfortable talking about it. Her tweet, to the extent that it is now driving a conversation about how some states are trying to limit abortion, constitutes a public service announcement, she said.

Perhaps some women do need more information about miscarriage, though it seems probable that those following twitterers and blogs know how to mine the Internet for information. Or, you know, they could talk to their doctor/mother/grandmother/aunt. Pick up the phone?

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