Rachel, Photographed by Kat Bawden

“Pregnancy was hard for me. Harder than I originally thought, I mean who thought the joining of two cells could wreck such havoc on a body? I felt a lot of guilt like I was weak for not being able to carry a pregnancy to term.

“I have felt in the past like an outcast in my own home state for having an abortion. I will no longer apologize or seclude myself for saving my own life and future that I share with my little family.”

Due to her health conditions, Rachel was unable to carry her pregnancies to term without risking her life. Her abortions saved her life, and Rachel is determined to use her time in service of others. Among her other service work, Rachel volunteers with her local humane society, where she helps find homes for animals in kill shelters.

Kat Bawden is a photographer and teaching artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her portraits and long-form photographic essays explore marginalized communities and document human’s relationship to place. Her photography, writing, and multimedia pieces have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and Scalawag Magazine, among others. She has collaborated with numerous nonprofit and commercial clients to tell their stories through engaging visual media.As a teaching artist, Kat leads community-based participatory photography workshops with marginalized communities, creating photographic essays that educate the public and policymakers. Previously, Kat worked as a community organizer and health educator in West Virginia and North Carolina, and she holds a master’s degree in public health.