WOMEN

5 Women Share What Their Lives Are Like After Having An Abortion

A powerful photo series aims to break down the stigma around abortion.

08/03/2016 9:27 AM AEDT | Updated 08/03/2016 9:27 AM AEDT
REUTERS/Allison Joyce
"If it's something that you feel ok talking about, I think that vocalization is important. I think it can help remove the stigma that's attached to having an abortion."

"There's so much loud, heated discussion about abortion in America, but very few voices from women who have had abortions are added to the debate," photographer Allison Joyce recently told The Huffington Post.

Joyce decided to change that with her photo series "Abortion, After The Decision," which features portraits of five women from around the United States sharing their abortion stories.

Though "Abortion, After The Decision" was published in 2013, it's still relevant in light of the recent Supreme Court case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the outcome of which has the potential to shut down almost every abortion clinic in Texas. 

"I thought it was important to hear women talk about the reasons why they decided to end their pregnancy and how they felt about their decision," Joyce told HuffPost. 

One in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime, but unfortunately the decision to have the procedure is still stigmatized. "That means statistically we all know someone who has had to make that decision," Joyce said. "It could be your mother, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor." 

By sharing their abortion stories, women can help break down this stigma. "I think it's important to humanize the issue and to go beyond the partisan debate, the statistics and headlines," Joyce said. "By talking openly and understanding how and why women arrive at the decision to terminate their pregnancy it can remove a lot of the stigma."

Scroll below to read their abortion stories. 

  • Lisa
    Allison Joyce/Reuters
    Lisa, a 27-year-old restaurant manager, posed for a portrait in her home in Massachusetts on October 11, 2012. Lisa said she was 24 when she became pregnant and had an abortion.

    "No regrets. You never think about how you're going to feel when you do it. And when I did it, it was pretty straight-forward... The decision to do it wasn't hard and afterwards it hasn't been hard in that area. I mean, I've had struggles... And I thought I would maybe think about what it would be like if I went through with the pregnancy and having a child and I don't think about it. I don't try to think about it. I don't try not to, I just -- I don't."

    Read the rest of Lisa's story here
  • Jennifer
    Allison Joyce/Reuters
    Jennifer, a 23-year-old nurse, posed for a portrait in her home in New York on January 5, 2013. Jennifer was 17 when she became pregnant and had an abortion.

    "I was against abortion. I really was -- I was against it. My mom has gone through so many troubles with pregnancies that I wouldn't want to do that... But at the same time, at the time I only had one parent there. My father was incarcerated, so I knew he'd be super duper disappointed in me. And then my mom was just like, 'You know if you get pregnant you're out of here because you're grown.' After that, I made my decision in about two months. After the procedure, I was crying. As soon as I woke up from the bed, I was crying. Crying, crying. And a woman next to me asked me how old I was, and I said 17. She said 'You did the right thing girl. You did the right thing because you're too young. You have your whole life ahead of you.'"

    Read the rest of Jennifer's story here.
  • Aiyana
    Allison Joyce/Reuters
    Aiyana, a 22-year-old artist, posed for a portrait in her home in New York on September 21, 2012. Aiyana said she was 20 years old when she became pregnant and had an abortion. 

    "It definitely has been really rewarding in some ways at least I know I can give friends or acquaintances of mine somebody to talk to, who can give them advice or give them resources that they might not otherwise be aware of... Obviously it's something private. But if it's something that you feel ok talking about, I think that vocalization is important. I think it can help remove the stigma that's attached to having an abortion."

    Read the rest of Aiyana's story here.
  • Lisa
    Allison Joyce/Reuters
    Lisa, a 45-year-old writer, posed for a portrait in her home in Massachusetts on October 13, 2012. Lisa said she became pregnant and had two abortions when she was in her 30s.

    "I regret the choices that I made with regard to the men I was with... that's time that I can't get back. But, I do not regret the decision to terminate those pregnancies. That was the right decision for each one of those pregnancies that was tied to each one of those men."

    Read the rest of Lisa's story here.
  • Leigh
    Allison Joyce/Reuters
    Leigh, a 26-year-old bartender, posed for a portrait in her home in Pennsylvania on September 24, 2012. Leigh said she was 21 years old when she became pregnant and had an abortion.

    "I didn't take it lightly. It took every inch of strength inside of me to be able to do it, but I knew it was the right decision to make. I know it was the right decision to make. I've never doubted that. I don't regret it but I don't think I could ever stomach being able to do it again. I think I was just about to turn 22... I would have had a 4 and a half year-old right now." 

    Read more about Leigh's story here.

Head over to Joyce's website to see more of her work. 

Also on HuffPost
Myths About Abortion That Need To Be Busted

More On This Topic