Intimate Portraits Of Women Affected By Illegal Abortion (NSFW)

Scotland-based photographer Camila Cavalcante spent the last three years working on a project to push the conversation about abortion and scream for all women to have autonomy over their own bodies, regardless of their circumstances.
In Brazil where she grew up, abortion is only legal if it endangers the mother’s life, if the foetus’ brain doesn’t develop in the womb or in rape cases. Updates to abortion law and the fight for reproductive rights continue all over the world while women are still forced to take dangerous avenues to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Between 2016 and 2019, Camila photographed herself with 50 women from different backgrounds with different stories, all united by having been affected by illegal abortions. The result is an incredibly moving photobook, For The Lives Of All Women, which combines the personal and the political, documenting their individual experiences and why things so desperately need to change for everyone.
"I have taken nude self-portraits holding and hugging these women, their backs to the camera, identity protected, whilst I reveal my face, exposing my body and identity in their name," Camila writes in the book’s introduction. She adds: "Exposing my face and identity in the names of women who have risked so much was my way of supporting their decision and moving the focus of judgement away from them."
To protect the women’s anonymity, each photograph is captioned with "Nós por Todas em", which is Portuguese for "Us for All", and the year they experienced an illegal abortion. From those who were highly educated and able to afford professional help to those who relied on homemade 'abortion teas' or abortion pill dealers, ahead you’ll find the stories of some incredible women. "This project is about continuing the debate around abortion and bringing people together in the fight for reproductive rights," says Camila. "It is about sharing experiences and breaking stereotypes. It’s about reaching and supporting women around the world who are being judged and persecuted because they dared to decide what to do with their own bodies. It is about trusting women."

More from Books & Art

R29 Original Series