Rachel Barnes is a reproductive rights activist in West Virginia, who I photographed fro Advocates for Youth’s 1 in 3 Campaign, a national storytelling project focusing on access to abortion.
Here, Rachel stands outside the only abortion clinic in the state of West Virginia. This is where she had her second abortion performed.
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.
After her abortions, her family refused to speak to her. Says Rachel, “Animals have always been my soul friends, helping me get through the families abandoning us after my abortions. Animals listen without judgement and can teach one a lot about peace.”
Rachel receives regular harassment and death threats in response to her activism. “But,” she says, “if I don’t stand up and speak out, who will?”