Stop My Abortion Blog Revisited

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Submitted by Adrian Luca:

I wrote this article in 2006 after researching contemporary online reaction to the blog, stopmyabortion.com. For the article, I contacted Bargal20 via email, and asked for an interview. She agreed to be interviewed, but only via Yahoo Messenger — first via text, then in voice. I have had no contact with her since then. In light of the recent hullabaloo regarding the Yale abortion art hoax, I thought the piece might have some renewed interest.


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By Adrian Luca

stopmyabortion.com

Possibly it was because of the cruel mockery of former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and wife for bringing their miscarriage home so their surviving children could sing to it. Perhaps it was the "Pregnant Drinking Game"; in which expectant contestants were urged to down a shot of tequila every time the baby kicked or, if it wasn't kicking, drink until it did. Could it have been the threat to arrange an abortion unless readers bribed the blog's author and mother-to-be?

Whatever the reason, people who stumbled upon stopmyabortion.blogspot.com 2 years ago tended to fall into 2 categories: those who condemned it as one of the sickest blogs on the Web, and those who lauded it as one of the sickest, but funniest.

To understand Stop My Abortion and its fictional protagonist Bargal20, you need to travel back to a morning in April 2006. That's when 22 year-old Lea Doner stepped off a bus at the Waco, Texas Greyhound terminal and walked 2 miles to what she describes as the most traumatising 10 minutes of her life. No, she doesn't mean the abortion she had that day. "That was pretty easy, all things considered," she says. "Not that the abortion was fun or anything, but appendicitis when I was 15 wasn't a party either, and I got over that."

What left a more lasting, malignant impression on the pseudonymous Doner were the Operation Rescue "sidewalk counsellors" waiting for her outside the Audre Rapoport Women’s Health Centre on Columbus Avenue. Wielding their gory photoshopped placards of dismembered fetuses, eerily realistic plastic dolls, and two or three actual, live toddlers, the chanting protestors did their best to dissuade her from exercising her constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. But they failed, and 4 hours later, as she made her way through the still vocal throng, a sore, nauseous and fuming Doner swore revenge. The following night, sans embryo and safely home 150 miles away in her grandparents' ramshackle house on the outskirts of Colmesneil (population 760), she booted up her 400-Mhz Pentium II dinosaur, logged on to her unreliable dial-up account and within 45 minutes had given birth to Stop My Abortion.

Her mission was simple: create a virtual reality in which Operation Rescue succeeded in keeping a woman like her from the appointment she'd made at the family planning clinic. For 7 months she rubbed pro-lifers' noses in the hypothetical consequences of trying to force a fun-loving, heavy-drinking, drug-imbibing single gal to carry a baby to term. As the icing on the cake, the blog's header offered a stark warning: "I will abort my fetus on October 19th, 2006 unless I get $40,000 in donations. Let’s see if pro-lifers will put their money where their big, fat mouths are-up my vagina!"

In post after post Bargal20 delivered a running account of her boozing, snorting and smoking, accompanied by grotesque images of deformed fetuses preserved in formaldehyde. Doner's real-world travails became raw material for her alter ego: when Doner lost her job so did Bargal20, but while Doner soon found work at a factory, her dark half investigated a career as a pregnant pin-up at alt-porn site Suicide Girls. When Doner's boyfriend reneged on his promise to pay half the cost of the abortion and broke up with her via a text message, Bargal20's cross-dressing "asshole babydaddy" claimed half the fetus and demanded 50% of any funds raised by the blog.

Doner insists it wasn't about money and that the Paypal donations button in the sidebar was only there for authenticity's sake. "Of course I didn't expect anyone to donate cash. In the first 5 months I got exactly $3, which I sent back. If you read the comments I got from ‘pro-lifers' you'll see they didn't care about the kid, so why would they pay to save it? The important thing for them was that I get punished for having sex."

But everything changed when Doner followed a fan's advice and added a second donations button for readers who preferred that Bargal20 abort. In the subsequent 2 months over $20,000 rolled in-given in the hope that she provide grisly evidence that the deed had been done. " I felt like I had the right to keep that money," she says. "Anybody dumb enough to believe I was going to abort at 7 months and take pictures of it deserved to lose their cash."

On October 20, Doner posted Stop My Abortion's last entry-an obviously faked photograph of a pair of tiny, goo-covered human legs dangling over the side of a surgical dish. Some readers expressed disappointment with what they saw as an anticlimactic finale, but Doner is unapologetic, and with the help of a new 2.33-GHz MacBook Pro is gestating a more ambitious online project. "Think the 2008 presidential campaign, abortion and a third party candidate," she hints mysteriously. "Think Ralph Nader, only less self-righteous and more embryonic."

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