28 Jun

Debate about abortion on Twitter reaches almost 1.5 million mentions with a child rape episode in Santa Catarina

Updated 5 de July, 2022 at 9:27 am

  • The peak of debate had 286,000 tweets and associated the abortion performed on the Santa Catarina girl with an episode with actress Karla Castanho, who was attacked on the networks for placing a baby resulting from rape for adoption;
  • The hashtag #abortonao (no to abortion) had a strong level of engagement with 21,400 tweets, but a lower total number than the hashtags favorable to the procedure, such as #criancanaoemae (children aren’t mothers) and #abortoseguro (safe abortion), with 15,300 and 8,500 mentions;
  • In May, the debate on abortion increased with the news of the repeal of the US law that ensured women had the right to abortion without state interference, accounting for more than 34,600 mentions on Twitter.

The unfolding of a pregnancy resulting from rape of an eleven-year-old girl in Santa Catarina reignited the debate on abortion on social networks. Between May 1 and June 27, 1.47 million posts were identified on Twitter related to the procedure, according to a survey by the Department of Public Policy Analysis at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV DAPP). The debate had the largest repercussion on June 25 with 286.2 thousand mentions, when the case of the Santa Catarina girl was associated with another recent episode involving actress Karla Castanho, also a victim of rape.

Evolution of the debate about abortion on Twitter
Period: May 1 to June 27, 2022

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Of the ten major hashtags circulating in the debate, the most used, #abortonao, appeared in 21,400 tweets, expressing a position contrary to the procedure. However, together, the hashtags defending the right to abortion have a greater level of engagement, such as #criancanaoemae, which appears in 15,300 tweets, and #abortoseguro and #abortolegal (legal abortion), in 8,500 and 5,000 tweets, respectively. Other hashtags also seemed to suggest methods for terminating a pregnancy, such as #comoabortar (how to abort) and #abortoemcasa (home abortion), in addition to #cytotec and #misoprostol, referring to an abortifacient drug.

Top 10 hashtags in the debate about abortion on Twitter
Period: May 1 to June 27, 2022

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

June 20
The first peak of mobilization in the debate on Twitter happened on June 20, with the news that an eleven-year-old girl, a rape victim, in Santa Catarina, was pregnant. At that time, most of the debate criticized and expressed frustration with the position of the Santa Catarina state judge in charge of the case, who denied the request for a legal abortion made by the victim’s mother, trying to convince the girl to have the baby. The posts attacked the attitudes of the judge, who allegedly asked the girl if she had already chosen a name for her child or if the father agreed with placing the baby for adoption.

June 25
June 25 was marked by the highest number of posts about abortion on Twitter, accounting for more than 286,200 mentions. In a tone of repudiation and indignation, the posts condemned the crime of rape, associating the abuse suffered by the Santa Catarina girl with the rape case involving actress Klara Castanho, and driving the narrative towards a broader debate on violence against women in Brazil. The messages showed that, in these contexts, any decisions made by women and supported by the Constitution – whether to place the baby for adoption or to carry out a legal abortion – are subjected to judgments and condemnations that evoke hatred for women rather than love for life.

May 3
On May 3, the US Supreme Court’s indication of revocation of the “Roe versus Wade” decision, which ensures women have the right to abortion without State interference, caught the attention of the Brazilian Twitter regarding the procedure. Mobilizing 34,700 mentions, most of the messages celebrated the decision as a major victory of the pro-life movement in the country, classifying abortion as “baby murder”. Other profiles demanded a position of the former Minister of Justice and Security Sergio Moro, who, in his doctoral thesis, had praised the decision of the Court in the “Roe versus Wade” decision.

Major tweets during the peaks of mentions to abortion on Twitter
Period: May 1 to June 27, 2022

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP