REU 2022 / Abortion Storytelling Project
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REU 2022 \ AbortionStories

Abortion Storytelling Project

Abortion access is an important topic in the U.S. right now. Our team investigated the ways that people share their abortion stories in digital spaces. We explored first-person abortion narratives on Twitter and designed an abortion storytelling workshop to be hosted over Slack.

Project Video People

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Our Project

This study explores how people share first-person abortion narratives in online spaces, with the ultimate goal of making abortion stories more effective at reducing stigma. We approached this project from two angles. First, we explored abortion narratives on Twitter by analyzing 1783 tweets between 2015 and 2022. We investigated the timing of tweets and conducted sentiment analysis between tweets and their responses. Our results indicate that most narratives are posted in response to abortion-related current events. In order to have the largest impact on sustained activism, tweets should be published proactively, not reactively. We found no correlation between the sentiment of a tweet and the response that it received. For our second approach, we designed a 2-week workshop on abortion storytelling via asynchronous remote community. Workshop participants will complete 10 activities and 2 surveys over a private Slack workspace, with the goal of sparking conversation about abortion stigma and helping participants iterate on their written abortion story. Future analysis and results from this workshop can inform advocacy efforts centered around storytelling by helping us understand how people want to share their experiences and how their writing might change according to guided activities and intended sharing platforms. Future work should further investigate abortion-related content on Twitter, apply our findings to broader cross-platform analyses, and explore the possibility of sending abortion narratives to targeted audiences.


Big Points

  • Compiled literature on using stories to reduce abortion stigma
  • Analyzed 1,783 tweets containing first-person abortion narratives
  • Found that abortion storytelling on Twitter spikes in reaction to current events
  • Created a list of criteria for effective abortion storytelling
  • Designed an asynchronous remote community (ARC) to help people iterate on their written abortion stories


Abortion Storytelling Project: Lightning Talks

Listen to Emily and Michaela each talk about their side of the project. Emily worked on a quantitative analysis of first-person abortion narratives on Twitter. Michaela worked on the qualitative design of an abortion storytelling workshop.

Team Members Email the Team

Abortion Storytelling Project has 2 members.

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Emily Rhoades

Emily Rhoades is a rising junior at Grinnell college and is studying Computer Science and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. She is passionate about using computing for social justice and to improve the lives of others.

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Michaela Krawczyk

Michaela is a senior at Indiana University Bloomington studying Informatics and Human-Centered Computing, with an emphasis in gender studies and media psychology. She enjoys turning people's experiences into new ideas and plans to pursue a career in User Experience or HCI Research.

Instructors & Associate Instructors