Angie, Photographed by Michelle Kanaar

“I had 2 abortions. Both of them occurred in a dark period in my life. I was in an abusive relationship with someone who did not want me to go to college in fear of me leaving him or cheating on him. Because of this fear, he had pushed me into isolation so that my only support system was him. I felt like I was not myself, like I was being pulled from many different directions. My mind looked the way the picture does; distorted, dark, blurry and overwhelmingly stressed. I was not ready to bring a child into this kind of environment.

Now, I have happily overcome a lot of challenges, including dropping out of college. I am currently in a Master’s program that will help me reach my goal of getting into medical school, but most importantly, my family and I are all healthy. I no longer feel trapped in a dark, cluttered place. I finally feel like myself and I am hopeful for my future. I have been told that God can punish me for my abortions, but I know that God’s love doesn’t work that way. It was thanks to the 2 abortions that I realized I needed to leave and it was God who gave me all of the strength to leave that relationship as well as overcome all my challenges.”

Michelle Kanaar is an independent photojournalist and teaching artist based in Chicago, IL. She covers issues dealing with immigration, labor, education, housing, and the environment, for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, NPR, the Chicago Reporter, Midwest Energy News, and the Miami Herald. She also teaches digital journalism to high school students so they have the tools to tell their own stories and affect change.