Renee and Daniela, Photographed by De’Jonnae Boyd
“The very first time I shared my abortion story publicly in 2012, I wrote “Abortion is different for everyone. Each abortion is like stripes on a zebra; while on the surface they may seem similar, no two experiences are exactly the same.” I still believe that. Our experiences are so similar, but never exactly the same, yet they bond so many of us indefinitely.
My abortion was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Afterward, I felt relieved and happy. Sometimes, people ask me how I can be “happy” about my decision to have an abortion or how it could be the “best” decision for me. To me, it’s such an easy answer; it was the first time I felt like I could make empowered decisions in my life, rather than my life living me. I felt fully informed about what I was deciding and could choose a new path in life. I want everyone making a decision about their pregnancies to feel empowered, supported, loved, fully informed, consenting, and affirmed, whatever they decide. That’s my vision for the future.
When I had my abortion, I was so alone. I didn’t have a friend to go with me. But now that I share my story, most of my friends have had abortions. We support each other through everything. We’re bonded for life.
Everyone loves someone who had an abortion. Todxs amamos a alguien quien tuvo un aborto. – Renee Bracey Sherman, founder and project manager of We Testify”
“Unas semanas después de llegar a DC, en 2015, descubrí que estaba embarazada en una ciudad nueva, con un nuevo trabajo y en un lugar donde apenas había tenido la oportunidad de construir una comunidad. Al ver el resultado de la prueba de embarazo, supe lo que quería hacer. No estaba preparada para ser madre, no tenía la capacidad financiera ni el apoyo para ser madre soltera en DC. Apoyo y capacidad financiera a un lado, sabía que no estaba lista para ser madre. El aborto, cuando tuve mi procedimiento y hoy en día, esta completamente desmitificado para mí. En mi trabajo clínico, había sostenido emocionalmente y mano a mano a muchxs clientes increíbles, no temía esta decisión. Ese es mi privilegio. Mi experiencia laboral en clínica me permitió tener la experiencia que quería como paciente. Una donde la vergüenza, la culpabilidad y el miedo no podrían florecer.
Las amistades que he hecho a raíz de compartir mi experiencia me han nutrido el alma.
A few weeks after arriving to DC in 2015 I found out I was pregnant in a new city, with a new job, and at a place where I’d barely had the chance to build community. Upon seeing the result of the pregnancy test, I knew what I wanted to do. I wasn’t ready to be a parent, a mother, nor did I have the financial capacity or support to be a single parent. Support and financial capacity aside, I knew I wasn’t ready. Abortion was completely demystified for me. In my clinic work, I’d held the hands of many amazing clients and had no personal fear surrounding the procedure. That is my privilege. Being a patient advocate allowed me to have the experience I wanted, one where shame, fear and guilt could not flourish.
The friendships I’ve made as a result of sharing my story have nourished my soul.There’s an unspoken understanding in the friendships that I’ve made by sharing my story: the value of bodily autonomy, how empowering it is, and empathy for the circumstances that led us to getting an abortion. Through sharing the story of my abortion, my life has been enriched with deep connections. Lifelong friendships and support, filled with empathy and compassion. There’s immense power and value in that.” – Daniela
De’Jonnae Boyd, a Washington, D.C. resident, has worked in the reproductive justice field as an advocate and activist for a number of years. In her spare time, she loves to hit the streets of D.C and Baltimore (her hometown) with her Canon to capture the intimacy of blackness and womanhood.