This portrait is very, very special. For me, it represents balance. The Decision Portrait Series is about DECISIONS.... all sorts of them. Most of the decisions suggest a change of circumstances, a course of action taken when there is more than one option. Some decisions are profound; some are quite ordinary. Some are very personal; some are very public. Many are bittersweet...because there is more than one option! To present more than one option brings balance to the series.
Having already stitched Someone Else’s Miracle (about giving up a child for adoption) and Teenage Mother, I knew I wanted to stitch Pro Choice. I needed to stitch it.... to establish the balance!
Originally, I didn't think I would find a woman with the strength of character, the ability to articulate her choice, and the willingness to pose for this very personal, extremely controversial portrait. Yet, Shannon Elizabeth Staley came forward. She's a totally professional woman, open, honest, respectful of others, and an advocate for women’s rights.
At the time I met Shannon, there was a bill pending here in South Carolina. If passed, would have required a twenty-four hour waiting period after viewing an ultrasound before one could legally terminate a pregnancy. Shannon made herself available to speak on behalf of those opposed to this bill. A television station promised to present her advocacy as "balanced" and promised to inform her when the segment was to air. They did neither. The biased interview used graphic imagery from a second trimester abortion, instead of the appropriate footage that Shannon even provided.
Well, I, too, promised Shannon to be respectful and balanced. I promised to stitch her portrait in such a way that it might reflect her inner beauty. “The choice was mine” is the simple truth. It is to the point. It doesn't suggest shame, blame, an excuse or anything negative.... appropriately so...no judgment! It reflects Shannon's realistic view of her life, her strength, her intellect, and her rights over her own body.