As the #youknowme movement takes off, I'm reminded of my project that I created with Jennifer Baumgardner more than ten years ago, about women activists who had abortions. This photo series is still relevant today as many find abortion a taboo subject, and won't talk about their experiences.

I wanted the series to be straightforward so that the simplicity of the women's portraits would standout. This is not a faceless issue. I wanted the viewer to see these women's incredible stories behind the t-shirt. Among the portraits is one of my own mother. The goal is to spark discussion and debate, and not just between people that already hold similar views. This is an issue that is a part of us all. And by speaking up, and telling our stories, we make abortion a less confrontational topic in American society.

Please share your stories and let's start talking.

More info: vignette.global

#1

Florence Rice

Florence Rice

Florence Rice, 86 (at the time the photo was taken), was raised in the foster care system in NYC. She saw her mother only a handful of times throughout her childhood. When she got pregnant as a young single woman in the 1930’s she decided to have the baby. A few years later as a working single mother, she found herself pregnant again and knew that she didn’t want to be like her mother, unable to take care of the child, so she had an abortion. She got a serious infection afterwards from her illegal, unclean abortion. In 1969 when feminists began speaking out about their abortions, Florence was one of the first to do so. Her story underscored a class divide: richer women got safer abortions, poorer women were more likely to end up at a butcher.

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Lotte
Community Member
1 year ago

I have so much respect for these women

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#2

Liberty Aldrich And Joe Saunders

Liberty Aldrich And Joe Saunders

Liberty Aldrich and Joe Saunders with their sons. Liberty and Joe had an abortion together early in their relationship, stayed together and eventually had two sons when their lives were better equipped to have children.

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Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
1 year ago

Makes perfect sense. Not every abortion is a scary story about an abusive relationship or strict family or medical emergency. Sometimes you’re just not ready, and will get to it later.

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#3

Jenny Egan

Jenny Egan

Jenny Egan, 25 (at the time the photo was taken), was raised in a rural Oregan town in a Morman family. When she was 16 she got pregnant by her boyfriend from sex that was not totally consensual. After the abortion, which she had without telling her family, her parents received a letter from a group called the Brotherhood informing them of her procedure. Her mother was horrified and ordered her to leave the house.

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Sarcastic Cow
Community Member
1 year ago

I hope the ´Brotherhood´ rot in hell they have invented.

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#4

Sebastiana Correa

Sebastiana Correa

Sebastiana Correa, 28 (at the time the photo was taken), got pregnant as a foreign exchange grad student in Connecticut. Signficantly Sebasitan’s mother is an ardent pro-life activist who runs an orphanage for the children of unwed mothers in Brazil. As scared as Sebastiana was, her first thought when she found out she was pregnant, was “thank God I’m in America where I can have a legal abortion”.

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HOUSE
Community Member
1 year ago

Ah yes, only in America can this be done.

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#5

Holly Fritz

Holly Fritz

Holly Fritz, 35 (at the time the photo was taken), got pregnant living at home as a high school student in Buffalo, NY. She just assumed that she should get married to her boyfriend and embark on a life not unlike her mother’s who also had gotten pregnant by her high school sweetheart, got married, and had Holly. When Holly turned to her mother for advice, she was surprised that her mother urged her to have an abortion, rather than a shotgun wedding. Holly is now a high school teacher in NYC, married, and is the mother of a toddler, Zoe, pictured in the photograph with her.

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anarkzie
Community Member
1 year ago

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Cleary not an effective one judging by the picture.

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#6

Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara, 64 (at the time the photo was taken), has had two abortions and two children. She is a grandmother, best selling author and columinist. Her column “Owning Up To Abortion”, published last summer in the NY Times op-ed section was part of the idea that sparked my project. In the article, she writes: “Honesty begins at home, so I should acknowledge that I had two abortions during my all-too-fertile years…Choice can be easy, as it was in my case, or truly agonizing…But assuming the fetal position is not an appropriate response. Sartre called this “bad faith,” meaning something worse than duplicity: a fundamental denial of freedom and the responsibility that it entails. Time to take your thumbs out of your mouths, ladies, and speak up for your rights. The freedoms that we exercise but do not acknowledge are easily taken away.”

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
1 year ago

This woman is a badass. Read her books and essays

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#7

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem, 71 (at the time the photo was taken), entered the feminist movement the day she covered Red Stockings abortion speak-out for New York magazine, and finally owned the abortion she had had several years earlier. She describes her abortion as the first time she acted in her own life, rather than let things happen to her. She had her abortion when she was 22. Gloria went on to found several pro-choice organizations, including Voters for Choice and Ms. Magazine and considers reproductive freedom to be the most significant contribution of the 2nd wave

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Shinobi Shabby
Community Member
1 year ago

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Illuminati confirmed

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#8

A’yen Tran

A’yen Tran

A’yen Tran, 25 (at the time the photo was taken), was raised by a single mother in a progressive NYC household. During her teenage years she had a “radical” boyfriend who was emotionally and sexually abusive, and isolated A’yen from her community. She got pregnant, and began waking up to how bad her relationship was. She had a methotrexate abortion and a few days later spoke publicly about it at a Judson Church event emulating the 1969 speak-outs. Even though she is a self-identified abortion activist, she was surprised by how hard it was to talk in personal terms about abortion.

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ispeak catanese
Community Member
1 year ago

I've found it easier to speak about mental illness than about abortion.

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#9

Jennifer And Gillian

Jennifer And Gillian

Jennifer and Gillian –Jennifer, 35 (at the time the photo was taken), left, journalist and activist, has written about abortion for more than a decade. She was frustrated that all the reporting on the issue, including her own, devovled into a “debate” between pro-life and pro-choice forces. She felt that what was being lost were the voices and faces of people that had abortions. In 2003 she started making t-shirts, resource cards, and working on a film that put the spotlight back on the women. Gillian and Jennifer have been close friends since they lived together in Boluder, CO in 1992. Gillian, 36, had an abortion in 2000 with the man who was to later become her husband and with whom she now has a daughter. She is also a film maker, and Jennifer asked her to direct a film on women’s abortions stories from the campagin. They collaborated, and the result is “Speak out: I had an abortion” film.

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JCutiey
Community Member
1 year ago

I feel like the only reason those campaignes are a thing is because there are people that need to view abortions from a positive perspective. For all I care, you wouldn't notice anything when you see a happy person or a family.

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#10

Rosalyn Baxandall

Rosalyn Baxandall

Rosalyn Baxandall, 65 (at the time the photo was taken), had an abortion in the 1960s and then again when she thought she was in menopause. She was the first speaker at the famed Redstockings abortion speakout in 1969.

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Dana Marriott
Community Member
1 year ago

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Again, along with Mz. Steinem, I presume Mz. Baxandall is an educated person, I am surprised that she had not 1 but 2 abortions. Even if she didn't know or understand the 1st time, she most definitely knew how to prevent getting pregnant the 2nd time. People using Abortions as a form of contraception is something I can never agree with. This is why Condoms, Spermicides, Birth Control pills/shots, Diaphragms, were invented. Also, if you double up or even triple up on these items it's pretty damn hard to get pregnant! *(Abstinence is a 100% guarantee you won't get pregnant.) If the female is on Birth Control medication, uses a Spermicide and has the man where a condom (not only for protection of contraception but for STD's too!) and the woman STILL gets pregnant, than that baby should absolutely have a chance at life because with 3 different deterrents and life still happens...... that's what we call a Miracle!

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#11

Henrietta Levner

Henrietta Levner

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Sarcastic Cow
Community Member
1 year ago

Love that brooch.

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#12

Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross, 51 (at the time the photo was taken), is a major figure in the reproductive justice movement. She is the co-author of Undivided Rights and organized women of color for the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C., an event that brought unprecedented support from communities of color. She got pregnant in high school and had the son, losing a scholarship to Radcliffe in the process. At a student at Howard University in 1970 she found herself pregnant again. In D.C., abortion was legal, but Loretta needed her mother’s signature in order to have the procedure. Her mother refused and Loretta ended up forging her signature and having a very late term abortion.

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Carol Emory
Community Member
1 year ago

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If she's 51 in this photo...and has a shirt on for a movement that was started in 2019..how the heck did she go to college in 1970? I'm 3 years older than her and I was born around 1970. I think someone got a date wrong in here.

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#13

Marion Bazahf

Marion Bazahf

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ispeak catanese
Community Member
1 year ago

I like her shirt a lot

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#14

Ani Difranco

Ani Difranco

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Bethanie Marshall
Community Member
1 year ago

She's my hero

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#15

Dawn Martin

Dawn Martin

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Andrea Shuffield
Community Member
1 year ago

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So interesting, I don't see any muslims, mexican or oriental women. Mostly blacks - some whites. This is why the muslims, somalis and other ethnic groups will one day be in the majority - they don't kill their babies. Do these women know they can just say no if they have no contraception. Just say no. Use your God given brain to override your animal instincts. That's why we are suppose to be the highest on the food chain because we have a better brain.

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#16

Roberta Todras

Roberta Todras

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Colin Bayler
Community Member
1 year ago

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Pretty much morons who decided killing a fetus was the best birth control method. Maybe they should have thought before taking drastic action. Here's some help for them.....20 Different Birth Control Options Abstinence Sponge (Today Sponge) The Patch Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing) Birth Control Pills Shot (Depo-Provera) Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon) Birth Control App Female Condom Breastfeeding as Birth Control Cervical Cap (FemCap) Outercourse Vasectomy Diaphragm Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs) Pull Out Method (Withdrawal) Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception) Condom Spermicide Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization) IUD

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#17

Amy Richards

Amy Richards

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Victoria Cox
Community Member
1 year ago

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We will all have to answer to God for our decisions.

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