A feminist author went viral for revealing what developing cells actually look like in early pregnancy, when the vast majority of abortions occur.
It’s prompted backlash from anti-abortion advocates who don’t want to believe what she’s showing.
After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion is now illegal or greatly restricted in multiple states. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) proposed federal legislation outlawing abortion after 15 weeks.
On Wednesday, Jessica Valenti posted a TikTok in which she displayed images of embryonic tissue at six and nine weeks.
“I wanted to show you this because this is what has more rights than you,” Valenti said, moving aside to reveal a white clump that is nearly a half-inch in diameter.
She credited the photo of the six-week-old pregnancy to the MYA Network, which consists of medical professionals, activists, and citizens who advocate for normalizing abortion care.
The images were initially provided to the Guardian.
@auntiekilljoy #greenscreen they need to show these images at every political debate about abortion #feminism #abortion #fyp ♬ original sound – Jessica Valenti
Valenti then showed the MYA Network’s picture of a nine-week-old pregnancy. At this stage, the tissue is roughly three inches across and often has no discernible embryo.
The MYA Network notes that the photos are of actual tissue from early pregnancies with the blood and menstrual lining rinsed off. At these early stages of pregnancy, typically all that is visible is the gestational sac with some cells inside that may form an embryo and later a fetus.
“I’m showing you this because the vast majority of abortions, 85% of abortions, occur before 10 weeks,” Valenti said in her TikTok.
Pew Research Center reports that 93% of abortions occur in the first trimester, or by roughly 13 weeks.
“And this is it. This is what they’re gonna let us die for. This is what they’re saying has a constitutional right to personhood—while we don’t,” she added, referencing the fact that being forced to carry a pregnancy to term can be life-threatening.
“They’re gonna let us get sick and die. They’re gonna let us be raped and forced to carry pregnancies,” Valenti continued. “They’re going to ruin raped children’s lives for this.”
Efforts to reach Valenti via Instagram direct messages were unsuccessful.
Valenti’s post resonated with many people. Several shared their own experiences with miscarriages and abortions to confirm that the photos are accurate.
One woman said that she’d aborted a pregnancy at eight weeks. “I requested the doctor show me what was in the bowl that he extracted. It was a blood clot about the size of a half dollar, maybe smaller. That’s not personhood,” she wrote.
“I’ve had three miscarriages. I unintentionally flushed one ‘baby’ down the toilet,” another shared. “So am I a murderer?”
But a great number of people chose to call Valenti a liar, insisting the photos are inaccurate.
Some of the people who insisted the photos aren’t real posted enlarged and enhanced drawings and graphics of embryos that are popular among the anti-choice movement.
“Well that’s fake,” was a popular comment, to which Valenti responded.
People who support abortion suggested that Valenti’s TikTok underscores the real reason why some people so vehemently oppose reproductive freedom.
“It’s not about ‘life.’ It’s about legally reducing us to what these ppl already think we are: INCUBATORS & PROPERTY,” said one.