A political maternity shoot with an important message.

Reproductive rights are under attack. 

For some, the issues involved are abstract. But for women who are currently pregnant, constant rhetoric about legislating female bodies hits extremely close to home.

So we invited six pregnant women to participate in a special kind of maternity shoot ― one that shows their politics on their bodies. These moms-to-be say the experience of pregnancy has only made them more pro-choice. Because women who choose to carry a child to term are seen by pro-lifers as having made the “right” decision, but the point is that it was a choice. And the women in this shoot all fiercely defend the rights of other women to make their own right choice, whatever it may be.

The women who are pictured here have all chosen to have a child, so they know firsthand the dedication required to do so ― the toll taken on bodies, minds, hearts and wallets. They intimately understand what we’re asking of a woman when we ask her to give up her body for nine months.

Read on or click play to hear in participants’ own words why they support a woman’s right to choose. Then get involved by sharing your own reasons you are (or were) #pregnantandprochoice using the hashtag on Twitter.

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“In order for women to be able to make informed choices in their lives, they need to have access to education.”

Laura Tiktin-Sharick, Teacher, 36 weeks pregnant

“In order for women to be able to make informed choices in their lives, they need to have access to education. So when I think about reproductive rights, it’s not just about the right to choose. It’s about having education as a young woman and a girl, and then being empowered to be able to make really important life decisions yourself.”

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFINGTON POST ILLUSTRATION BY JI SUB JEONG

“If men could get pregnant, this wouldn’t be a conversation. There would be abortion clinics like there are Starbucks.”

Amanda Stephen, Actress, 30 weeks pregnant

 “Everybody should have control over their own body. It’s very simple… People aren’t jumping in lines to get abortions. Nobody wants one. People aren’t getting pregnant to get abortions. That doesn’t happen.

… Going through [pregnancy], especially for the first time makes me realize how absurd it is not to have a choice. If men could get pregnant, this wouldn’t be a conversation. There would be abortion clinics like there are Starbucks.”

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFINGTON POST ILLUSTRATION BY JI SUB JEONG

“When I was growing up, I was a dancer, and was taught at a very young age that my body is my temple and that I own it and it’s mine to do with what I want.”

Emelyn Ocampo, Client Solutions, 36.5 weeks pregnant

“When I was growing up, I was a dancer, and was taught at a very young age that my body is my temple and that I own it and it’s mine to do with what I want … I hope to instill the same thing in my daughter ― that her body is her own and no one can tell her what to do with it.”

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFINGTON POST ILLUSTRATION BY JI SUB JEONG

“[My mother-in-law] got arrested [for performing illegal abortions] right around the same time as Roe vs. Wade. She really went out there and did what she needed to do to fight for those beliefs which I find really inspiring.”

Mallory, Fundraising Professional, 35 weeks pregnant 

“…After getting married, I heard about all the things that [my husband’s] mom did to support a woman’s right to choose. She got arrested [for performing illegal abortions] right around the same time as Roe vs. Wade. She really went out there and did what she needed to do to fight for those beliefs which I find really inspiring.

I heard her tell the stories about the women who came to them, and what they needed, and how there was no other option … A lot of these were ladies who for one reason or another their husbands refused to allow them to have birth control. They already had six kids, they were sick, they were injured, something happened where if they had another kid they’d die. That she did that in that time period was really inspiring.”

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFINGTON POST ILLUSTRATION BY JI SUB JEONG

“Even a good, healthy, normal pregnancy that carries to term a healthy baby is a very violent process. So to be forced to do that against your will? I kind of think it would be like being raped for 9 months.”

Priya, Writer, 22 weeks pregnant

“I think having had a baby made me even more pro-choice than I ever was before, because pregnancy is violent. Your whole body changes in such fundamental ways. Your pelvis pulls apart, your ribcage pulls apart, your breasts swell and ache, every part of you hurts. Your joints loosen, your hair changes, your feet change, your organs go crazy. It’s such a violent process ― even a good, healthy, normal pregnancy that carries to term a healthy baby is a very violent process. So to be forced to do that against your will? I kind of think it would be like being raped for 9 months. It’s horrifying to think about.”

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFINGTON POST ILLUSTRATION BY JI SUB JEONG

“A woman has a right to choose whatever they want to do with their body, whenever they want to do it.”

Karmela Herrera Billones, Education Consultant, 31.5 weeks pregnant

“A woman has a right to choose whatever they want to do with their body, whenever they want to do it. …Until you’re in it, you don’t know the power of creating a human being in your body. And then the honor of raising that child in the world! It’s only underscored my belief that it’s your choice, and why would anyone in the world be able to tell you what you should do with your body?”

DAMON DAHLEN/HUFFINGTON POST ILLUSTRATION BY ISABELLA CARAPELLA

The belly paintings were done by Ji Sub Jeong and Isabella Carapella. All photography by Damon Dahlen. 

Source: Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/6-women-strip-down-to-declare-theyre-pregnant-and-pro-choice_us_5894b94ae4b0c1284f25ad09