Micaiah Bilger - "Writer" for Life News - Anti-woman/Anti-Abortion Website Last week I published an article on Ravishly about my abortion that I had 6 months before I got sober in 2012. I wrote straight from the heart on how this procedure was the turning point in my life, leading me to sobriety, and ultimately changing my life forever. I did this for many reasons. One, because writing is therapeutic for me, two because in living my most authentic life I must tell my stories, and three, to normalize a procedure that 1 in 3 women gets in her lifetime, showing the incredible importance of a woman's right to choose. My abortion was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make and I wouldn't wish that decision on anyone. However, it's important for women like me to tell our stories because in a time like now where Republican lawmakers are restricting access to abortion, our world can quickly become a very dangerous place for women - one like my mother saw when she was growing up, where abortion was illegal and women resorted to throwing themselves down the stairs or using a coat hanger to give themselves an abortion.
The reaction from my abortion story has been mostly positive. I received a slew of private messages from women thanking me for sharing my story, telling me they had a similar experience, and admired my bravery for speaking out. Just like in addiction, having an abortion can make you feel alone, and like no one understands what you've been through. These women were happy to know that I experienced the same feelings they did. On my personal Facebook page my article got over 100 likes, but on Friday night I noticed a stranger had put an "angry face" reaction on it. Wondering who felt angry about my story, I clicked on this girl. We are not friends on Facebook, but my article was public. When I went to her Facebook page I saw that she had shared an article, the article had my face on it, and I had not seen it before. Confused and horrified, I clicked on the link. My stomach was doing flip flops when I opened it and saw this headline: "Woman Has Abortion So She Won't Have To Stop Drinking And Partying." I refuse to link to the article here and give it more traffic or clicks, but this article was written by a woman named Micaiah Bilger on a false news/anti-abortion/anti-women site called Life News. You can google it if you want to read it.
I was shocked and appalled to find out that this "news" site that is based on lies, seriously - their entire site is based on made-up information, lies, and defamatory articles like the one that was written about me - took the time to stalk me and write about my abortion story. Not only that, this woman who calls herself a journalist and actually worked at The Sentinel Newspaper in Central Pennsylvania (my home state) as a reporter, claims she is "pro-woman." Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't reporters operate under a code of ethics? Accuracy and standards for factual reporting, harm limitation principle, and slander and libel considerations? Stealing someone's narrative, searching their Twitter profile and taking a public photo from a year ago without consent, and then using person's personal narrative, twisting it around and labeling it as something else, doesn't constitute ethical journalism, good reporting, or good blogging for that matter. But that's exactly what Micaiah did to me.
Listen, I am not naive. I know that abortion is a sensitive subject and that some people are passionate about not having one. But do not call yourself pro-woman if you don't trust women to make the best decisions for themselves and their own bodies. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It simply means that women should have the right to choose. No woman should be forced into carrying a pregnancy to term. No child should be an unwanted child. And most importantly, we can see here what the goal of pro-life organizations like Life News, is: to shame women who have made the best decision for themselves, which in some cases includes an abortion.
Micaiah might have stolen my photo and my story, but she will never be able to steal my narrative and what it means to me. The only person who my lived narrative can empower is ME. You don't get to decide that Micaiah. Quote from her article about me: "It is commendable that Fitzgerald overcame her drug and alcohol addictions, but her abortion was not what led her down a better path." Guess who gets to decide that? ME, not you. You didn't live through my addiction or my abortion, so you don't get to write matter-of-fact statements like that. You don't get to turn my story into something it's not. And you certainly don't get to write slanderous headlines like the one you did, without me having something to say about it.
To my supporters and readers, I struggled with whether or not to address this defamatory article on my blog or not. Part of me wants to call Micaiah and her employer derogatory names, but because of my sobriety, and ultimately my abortion, I am forced to look upon every human being with love and compassion. I choose to see Micaiah as a very sick person, who has obviously come from circumstances that have caused her to believe lies that have been fed to her. Much like addiction, her brain has been highjacked by whatever conditioning she has experienced in her life to actually believe that writing defamatory articles about women who have abortions, shaming women, and distorting their narratives, is in some way constructive and acceptable. Unfortunately I am not the only one she has done this to. She has written other similar articles about other women. In her quest to "save lives," she has made the world a much more hostile place for all women.
What I've learned from this ordeal is that yes, not everyone will agree with all of the decisions you make and publishing your story on the internet leaves it open to be criticized by anyone. But, no one has the right to draw their own conclusions about your personal narrative and write them as facts. I am not upset because I am the one who lived it. I lived that pain, that grief, and those life changes. I know in my heart of hearts and soul of souls that I made the best decision for me. The universe has shown me time and time again that this is true. Nobody, especially not Micaiah, can take that away from me.
Thank you again to everyone for your love and support. I will never stop sharing my story.