It’s been a few days since a pregnant 23-year-old model’s comments about having an abortion to further her entertainment career sparked international outrage. As Josie Cunningham’s story continues to gain steam, social media remains ablaze with personal attacks, death wishes, furor and frustration.
But perhaps most notable are those supporting her decision, arguing that the mother of two has every right to make decisions about the life of her unborn child based solely on her professional aspirations.
The story broke last weekend after Cunningham, described as a “wannabe celebrity” by British tabloid the Daily Mirror, apparently told the outlet that an abortion would help to further her career.
“I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now. An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby,” she said, according to the Mirror. “Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.”
Cunningham, who is reportedly 18 weeks pregnant, said that an abortion might help her chances of being cast on the TV show Big Brother, claiming that the U.K. version of the program seemed interested in her until producers found out she is with child.
When they “turned cold,” Cunningham said she began to consider an abortion (watch her comments here).
“I’ve also had loads of other offers to further my career — and I’m not willing to give them up because I’m pregnant,” she added.
These comments quickly went viral, igniting an online firestorm that hasn’t died down. But despite the furor, some have defended the model, claiming that she has every right to have an abortion, if she so chooses.
Writer Martin Robbins, for instance, penned an article for the Guardian Wednesday, arguing that Cunningham has been unfairly targeted and that her rights should be respected.
“She’s been vilified by the nation’s press, condemned by leading public figures, and subjected to trial by hate mob,” he wrote. “A woman exercises her reproductive rights, and Twitter burns.”
Robbins continued, “In reality, her actions are no different from those of thousands of women who exercise their reproductive rights in order to make informed choices about their future careers and families, yet because she uses the wrong language, because she talks ‘common’, and wants to be on Big Brother instead of working in a call centre, she has been subjected to a torrent of vile abuse and bullying.”
Others have taken to Twitter to join in defending Cunningham:
But there are seemingly many more tweets from those who are appalled by her decision.
With proclamations that it’s a “shame” Cunningham’s own parents didn’t abort her, to calls for her death — and one very pointed wish that acid to be thrown on her face — the rhetoric continues to flow in from people around the globe (the debate can be read in real-time on Twitter here).
Here’s just a sampling of anti-Cunningham tweets sent in recent days:
It’s entirely possible that this entire spectacle was designed and plotted to garner attention, though it’s unclear whether Cunningham was being truthful with her initial abortion pledge.
A publicity stunt or a truthful admission about a career plan? We’ll likely never know (it’s also unclear whether she will go through with the procedure).
What do you think about the ongoing debate? Let us know below.