If you’re on TikTok, you may have seen Jane’s Due Process (JDP) and other pro-choice organizations on your FYP. However, did you know that TikTok for Abortion was started by a teen? Mehtaab (Mahi), a 17 year-old high school student, who is passionate about abortion access emailed every reproductive rights organization across the country, urging them that they must get on TikTok.
We sat down with Mahi to talk about her experiences as a youth abortion advocate who pushed abortion funds and advocacy groups to get on TikTok.
JDP: What inspired you to contact every repro-org and get them on TikTok?
I knew the power of youth voices in social justice. So many teen activists are fighting for gun control, racial justice, etc. That’s why I saw an opportunity with TikTok, which was sort of up-and-coming when I joined. With a large youth audience, organizations could spread their message, and it would be well-received and spread even further.
JDP: What have you done specifically to expand abortion access on TikTok?
Initially I was emailing organizations and pitching them to get on TikTok, and I got many positive responses. From there, I was holding virtual meetings, helping people actually make their accounts. I did this with about 20 organizations, but I emailed over a 100.
From there, I functioned as a “digital strategy consultant”. I would do trend analysis’, create scripts/ideas for organizations to create content with, and afterward I would help them interpret their analytics to see how it went. Overall, I’d help use TikTok to spread educational resources, bust stigma, or bring light to current issues.
Since then, I have collaborated with about 49 other repro activists. We like to take up projects like protests and petitions, using TikTok as a backboard to bring that traffic and support.
JDP: How would you like to expand the impact of TikTok for Abortion?
There are many organizations on Tiktok, but we have more to go. Jane’s Due Process held a workshop to help promote advocacy with the app, and I’d love to continue that further.
Next, we want to focus on converting likes and followers to votes and protesters. During COVID, there were many restrictions with protesting, voting, making your voice heard. We’ve had success with petitions and calling your representative during this virtual age, but we’re excited to expand as COVID restrictions loosen (please get vaccinated!)
JDP: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned as a youth organizer?
Sometimes it’s about taking the first step. I didn’t expect to have the success we did when I was just sending those emails. I was just a passionate and outspoken girl, sitting in her bedroom. But if I believed that I couldn’t make a change, we wouldn’t be here.