Susan, Photographed by Rebecca Naul

“I was in my 24th week of pregnancy when I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia. I was told that the fetus needed 2 more weeks to viability, but that I could die or have a stroke if I did not end the pregnancy immediately. It was a heart-wrenching decision but I made the painful choice to terminate the pregnancy. I was devastatingly sad after this procedure, but went on to have two healthy daughters. I was grateful to have my health and theirs.

When I hear about people speaking of late term or ‘partial birth’ abortions, it is beyond distressing. This was the most painful decision I have ever made, yet I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to make it. I am sharing this story so that other women who are faced with health-threatening situations do not have to feel shame for choosing their health and life.”

In Japanese Buddhism, Jizo takes care of the souls of unborn children. Susan is shown with a Jizo statue that she has had for many years.

Rebecca Naul is a designer, developer, and photographer living in San Francisco. She has been a reproductive justice activist since she watched Wendy Davis filibuster HB2, a bill of targeted regulations against abortion providers in the Texas State Capitol. After watching many clinics close in Texas, she is now building a website to help people find abortion providers and understand abortion laws in their local area.