Joy, Photographed by Emily Garcia Tornquist
“I grew up in a small town in Michigan. The local family planning clinic wasn’t open on weekends and the nearest abortion provider was more than 50 miles away. I found out I was pregnant on Mother’s Day, 2000. I’d been afraid that was the case after a condom broke. The boy I’d been intimate with ditched me before I even found out for certain I was pregnant. I was 18, getting ready to graduate from high school and head off to college. I’d already been accepted to an out-of-state school on a full-ride for academic merit. My first semester at university would have been my last trimester. I didn’t want to be a mother. I didn’t feel like I could be both a student, away from home for the first time, and pregnant. Faced with a choice, I chose my education. I chose a future as a college graduate instead of one as a single mom. Scheduling my abortion felt like the first, real, adult decision I made for myself. It felt like taking control of my life, and committing to what I wanted for myself. I finished school. I moved out to the East Coast from the Midwest. I found my passion and built a career for myself working as a communications professional in the human services sector. I feel in love and married an amazing woman. I am proud of who I am and what I do. I wouldn’t have my education, my career, or my marriage if I hadn’t had my abortion.”
Emily Garcia Tornquist, originally hailing from southern Vermont, is now settled in Worcester, Massachusetts. She recently completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, concentrating on creative-critical writing. After enrolling in several college photography classes, Emily realized the gap between how subjects are traditionally seen in photography, and how subjects would like to see themselves. She became increasingly inspired to capture people in comfortable, collaborative, confident, and empowering ways. Emily loves working with people who believe they aren’t “photogenic” and is honored to foster an environment where people can be unapologetically themselves. She is particularly excited about this project, specifically the idea of using photography as an educational medium. Emily is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts in Teaching program, and hopes to bring both photography and discussions of access to reproductive rights into her classroom!