Right to decide, about emotions woman experience in the process of abortion.
Drs. Marina Vosika is producing research into barriers women encounter while accessing abortions.
The interviews with women were more than just research as they told their intensely personal experiences to a total stranger. While research informs the academic community, it does not particularly touch the hearts of a population.
Art can be impactful at an emotional level which research fails to achieve.
Photographer Simone Henken was inspired by the story's of the woman and decided to visualize the emotions of woman who experienced an abortion, in a abstract and also in a documantairy style.
For privacy reasons, all woman are called Anna.
Anna B got married and pregnant very young.
Her husband and she weren't ready fo raise a child. So she choose for an abortian.
The second time, upon advise she bore a child.
The third time she became pregnant, she felt too alone to continue the pregnancy.
She carried around her guilt until a priest absolved her and the weight was lifted off her shoulders.
Did she have to be more careful?
Why she? Is she the only one responsible?
Who could she have turned to for good advice?
Butchers with a God complex
She was 18 when she became pregnant. She felt estranged from her own body. Violated. The pregnancy had to be stopped, no matter what!
"The decision was razor sharp.
The gynecologist tried to convince her otherwise. I had to 'fight' him to convince him of my decision
It was hard. I was young, confused, scared. I needed moral and physical support, but instead I was lectured.
The first time the anesthesia wasn't done properly. The procedure itself was hell. I felt violated again
The gynecologist told me to come back the next day. What he didn't tell me is there was a technical problem. I came back and got the procedure again. It was excruciatingly painful.''
"I couldn't talk to anyone about what had happened, except with my mom, who was a big support. It is so hard to be open about it. It's not about being ashamed, but it's the way people react. I am afraid it will effect me negatively. It's a real and present threat being rejected and looked down on by society.''
She stayed in her room. In her bed, the healing began.
I have a right to decide!
"No one tells me what to do with my own body".
Ana L had one child prior to her uterine cancer diagnosis.
She underwent surgery and her cervix was removed.
She thought she couldn't get pregnant again and yet, it happened.
To complete the pregnancy would have put her health at considerable risk. So, she decided to have an abortion.
Subsequently, she sought sterilization.
However, to be sterilized in Croatie you need to have at least two children.
Anna L didn't accept this patronizing attitude by the government. She found a way and succeeded in getting sterilization.
"If I want to have a child, I'll have one.
If I want an abortion, I'll have one.
If I want sterilization, I'll have it.
I felt sad, but the decision wasn't bad
After the procedure, I cried my eyes out and felt so miserable.
That's when some moralistic people said: "See, you feel miserable because it is wrong to have an abortion".
But no! Although I felt sad, it doesn't mean the decision was bad.
Anna M. had a daughter when she got pregnant again.
She was in an unsupportive relationship. To have another child would not have been in the child's best interest. She gathered money and went to the hospital. In the waiting room, she sat undressed from the waist down, a green cloth covering herself. In the next room the procedure was done. She could hear the machines and pump running.
"It was all so humiliating. This green cloth is now a symbol of my dehumanization".
Afterwards, I waited outside the hospital. My boyfriend was late. We never talked about it again. I merely existed from then on, taking care of my daughter, staring at the ceiling, everything in a haze.
It was the right decision but still, I grieved for more then a year over something that could have been".