Abortion is as personal and private as it is controversial. First Congressional District candidate Darcy Burner wants the issue out of the closet.

At a women s conference in Rhode Island last weekend where Burner was a keynote speaker she asked those who had had an abortion to let it be known.

If you are a woman in this room who has had an abortion and is willing to come out about it, please stand up, she said.

She asks for quiet and continues.

Now if you are willing to stand with every woman who is willing to come out about having had an abortion, please join them and stand up, she said.

Then, there s applause.

Is she supporting women? Promoting abortion?

The right has made it this shameful thing we're not supposed to talk about, she said.

Back home, Burner explains.

The people who don t want them to be able to stand up, who don t want people to stand with them, are the people who are trying to shame them into silence and it s long past time we stopped giving into them, she said.

The vast majority of the population does not think it s something to be proud of, said Joseph Backholm of Family Policy Institute.

Backholm thinks Burner's tactic could backfire.

I don t think you'll ever be successful at getting women, in general, to be celebrating these things, he said. They obviously always come out of very sensitive and difficult circumstances.

This is said to be a new abortion rights political strategy.

I salute Darcy for speaking out and wanting to take away some of the shame and stigma round abortion as a choice, said reproductive rights advocate Marcy Bloom.

In the first district, Republican hopeful John Koster, a clear anti-abortion candidate, has not returned our request for comment.

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