Thursday, April 17, 2008

On frivolous abortions: abortion as art--UPDATED 6:54 PM

Just when you think the art world could not get any more depraved...

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

Gotta love this quote:

But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts' project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock . saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for "shock value."

"I hope it inspires some sort of discourse," Shvarts said. "Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone."


I wonder how far along she was when she had the miscarriages.

I have to laugh. It's too absurd, even in its sheer dismissal of the value of human life.


UPDATE: The blogosphere is alive with this story. I searched on Google Blogs-- there were dozens upon dozens of references.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Hey, I'm 26 weeks pregnant. When I give birth, why don't I make my baby into an installation art project? "The Miracle of Life", or some such thing.

Now that'd be some art project.

I wonder if some feminist art student is going to dream that one up. Oh wait...better not give any ideas.

UPDATE: Yuval Levin at the National Review suspects it's a hoax.

It’s more likely that her senior art project is to see how many people she can upset with a hoax.

If this is the case, I'm sure the folks at Yale University are just thrilled.

My hunch is that herbal abortifacients can be effective. It seems to me that underground abortion movements have used them before.

Artificial insemination? Not impossible.


Those particular plans raised the ire of David Codrea, a 2nd Amendment advocate who blogs at War on Guns.

"One could make the argument that the exhibit legally should be classified as hazardous medical waste, and without proper handling, storage and spill clean-up/disposal procedures, with training for affected staff and employees, it poses a danger to the public and to all involved," he wrote. "I wonder if Yale's risk management department was consulted?"


Newsbusters thinks it's a hoax.

Reaction from Naral (From FoxNews):

"This 'project' is offensive and insensitive to the women who have suffered the heartbreak of miscarriage," said NARAL's communication director Ted Miller in a statement.


The senior's campus phone has been disconnected, and she did not respond to e-mailed requests for an interview. Yale University also didn't return calls seeking comment.

You don't say?


But ob-gyn Dr. Manuel Alvarez,'s health managing editor, said the young woman should have been worried because what she was doing was extremely unsafe.

"It’s quite dangerous," Alvarez said. "She was playing Russian roulette with her life, if she indeed did this to these unborn children for the sake of art. I don’t even have the words to express the disbelief that I have."

Alvarez said herbal remedies to trigger uterine contractions have long been used in countries where abortions are illegal — including certain raspberry teas and strong cinnamon teas — but they are far from consistently effective, and they tend to be risky.

"They interfere with pregnancy and are either toxic to the fetus or cause contractions," he explained. "The reason they are effective is that they create side effects, but none of them are 100 percent prescriptive to be abortive."

Shvarts wouldn't say how many times she was artificially inseminated and actually got pregnant for the project — which she described to the Yale paper as a huge cube hanging from the ceiling and swathed in plastic sheeting smeared with her blood from the reported miscarriages. The existence and number of pregnancies Shvarts may have had weren't independently confirmed.

Videos taken of what the college student says were self-induced abortions in her bathtub will be projected both on the cube's sides and on the gallery walls.

The exhibit will be on public display from April 22 to May 1 at Yale's Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall. Shvarts will be honored at a reception April 25.



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