What's the Problem With Yale Student, Aliza Shvarts, and "Abortion as Art"?
by Rich Deem


Abortion as Art?

Senior Yale student, Aliza Shvarts, decided to do her senior art project on abortion, using her own body to produce the "art." She has been roundly condemned by both pro- and anti-abortion proponents. Regardless of the question of whether the work amounts to art, why would pro-abortion proponents complain about what she did. She did nothing illegal, and since abortion is supposed to be a freedom worth defending, her having done it several months in a row should be a cause for the celebration of her freedom. Why doesn't anybody buy that?

Rich Deem

Aliza Shvarts, Senior Yale student, decided to do her senior art project on abortion. However, this was no ordinary art project, since Ms. Shvarts artificially inseminated herself multiple times during the fertile period of her cycle and then induced chemical abortions two weeks later. A video chronology of the nine month "art" project, in addition to a collection of bodily fluids are to be showcased next week, if all goes as planned. Of course, pro-life proponents are outraged, but surprisingly, pro-choice proponents don't seem to like the "art" either. Does this make logical sense?

Pro-choice objections?

Although Ms. Shvarts says her project is about "abortion," the secular articles tend to call it "miscarriages".1 This is technically incorrect. A miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion, not man induced one. So, we really are talking about induced abortion and not a spontaneous miscarriage. Yale officials have called, the project, "creative fiction," although Ms. Shvarts herself contradicted their claim in her own article, published the next day in the Yale Daily News.2 It is uncertain that Ms. Shvarts ever became pregnant, although given the technique described, it would be unlikely that she never became pregnant during the entire 9 month of attempts.

Ted Miller, a spokesman for the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America condemned the exhibition in a written statement saying, "This 'project' is offensive and insensitive to the women who have suffered the heartbreak of miscarriage." However, Ms. Shvarts didn't really suffer the "heartbreak of miscarriage," but induced her own abortions. NARAL should be thrilled that Ms. Shvarts is exercising her "abortion rights" without guilt. After all, abortion is legal and is even included in the Bill of Rights!

Logical Error!!!

The main problem for NARAL and the pro-choice movement is that, although they support abortion, they know it is evil. If abortion were a good thing, then more abortion would be even better. Ms. Shvarts would be applauded for doing good. However, it is clear that even pro-abortion supporters know that abortion is evil, and the more there is, the more evil it is. However, it seems to have taken an extreme example of abortion in order to make them understand the reality of what abortion is - evil.

Conclusion Top of page

The pro-choice stance of even the most radical pro-abortion organizations shows that even they believe abortion to be evil. They decry the intentional creation of life and subsequent intentional destruction of such life. If NARAL really believed that abortion were good, they would applaud Aliza Shvarts for exercising her constitutional right of abortion.

References Top of page

  1. "The supposed senior art project of the Davenport College senior was a 'creative fiction,' a Yale official said Thursday afternoon as students on campus and bloggers across the country expressed colossal outrage over what Shvarts described as a documentation of a nine-month process during which she claimed to have artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking 'abortifacient drugs' to induce miscarriages."
    Zachary Abrahamson, Thomas Kaplan and Martine Powers. 2008. University calls art project a fiction; Shvarts '08 disputes Yale's claim' Yale Daily News, April 17, 2008.
  2. "For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages. I created a group of fabricators from volunteers who submitted to periodic STD screenings and agreed to their complete and permanent anonymity. From the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle, the fabricators would provide me with sperm samples, which I used to privately self-inseminate. Using a needleless syringe, I would inject the sperm near my cervix within 30 minutes of its collection, so as to insure the possibility of fertilization. On the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding."
    Aliza Shvarts. 2008. Shvarts explains her 'repeated self-induced miscarriages' Yale Daily News, April 18, 2008.
  3. Samantha Broussard-Wilson. 2008. Reaction to Shvarts: Outrage, shock, disgust' Yale Daily News, April 18, 2008.

Last updated April 18, 2008


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