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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Big sigh

Warning: Squeamish people may not want to read this.

Why do people insist on doing the most boneheaded things that make their own beliefs look awful?

Usually I think that about wacko fundamentalist religionists, but this time, I'm annoyed with a woman at Yale who can't decide if she wants to claim to have abortions as "art" or not. This is the best thing that ever happened to the groups that want to make abortion illegal.

First, Aliza Shvarts claimed that she impregnated herself every month for nine months, induced miscarriages each month for nine months, kept the blood and videotaped the whole thing. It's ART. Who wants to see the blood? She's going to display it AND the videos as her senior project.

I was skeptical. It's just a little bit too ridiculous for me. It's the sort of thing you'd hear about by e-mail in capital letters and way too many exclamation points along with a printable card to mail to your local Congressman. Or something you'd read in the Onion. Women have abortions just because they're bored or to make a statement! Miscarriages are publicity stunts! I, personally, have abortions at least twice a year. It is the best major abdominal surgery a person could have.

It turns out that Ms. Shvarts is a real person and had actually claimed to be doing this. There was a huge outcry. I can't imagine why. Those fascists just don't understand art. Ms. Shvarts had to meet with university officials to explain what she did. She also wrote a guest column for the school newspaper. It is full of double-speak, but luckily for you, I am a professional double-speak decoder.

The project is not what she says it is. However, I'm willing to accept it as bad performance art. Ms. Shvarts squirted semen into her vagina with a needleless syringe. Then, just before she would have had her period, she took "herbs" that could induce a miscarriage. Shockingly, she would then bleed and get cramps. She saved the blood and filmed herself bleeding into a cup.

Now, most women end up with semen in their vaginas from time to time. Most of us bleed once a month and get cramps. Lots of us take herbs that could induce miscarriages, too.

We are all fools for thinking this could be real, and I include myself in that group. Ms. Shvarts says she does not know that she was ever pregnant. Uh huh. Who wants to put money on this? I know which way I'll be betting.

Ms. Shvarts says Yale officials are lying, but they claim that after they confronted her about potential ethical issues and medical concerns in her project, she told them that she never inseminated herself or induced any miscarriages.

This project is incredibly callous to women who have actually had abortions and miscarriages. It doesn't say anything new, and it isn't even good performance art.


Nicole said...

That is just plain sick :(
I am a "bit" at loss of words, plus it's too early.
I'm sure not hungry for breakfast any more.
That Lady needs to go and see a Dr. - art my a**.

Cin said...

As someone who volunteers with pregnant women whose pregnancies are life-threatening, many of whom contemplate aborting much-wanted babies and some of whom do abort against their true wills in order to stay alive, this makes me want to vomit.

I'm going to be blunt: I know what an abortion looks like, a real one at a Morgentaler clinic. It is NOT art. If you're pro-choice, it's a nasty surgical procedure. If you're pro-life, it's homicide (note I use the word "homicide," which means the killing of another human being, and not "murder", which has a different legal definition.)

If you haven't guessed, I consider abortion homicide. Full disclosure: For a full week (week 18 of gestation, to be exact)I considered kiling my youngest child in the womb due to a terrifying and life-threatening pregnancy disease called hyperemesis gravidarum (for more info check out I'm holding that sleeping child, alive and well and 20 months old, in my arms right now as I type this.

I cannot stress how deeply I feel that abortion is a subject where brutal honesty is necessary, no matter what you believe about it. And this kind of artsy-fartsy nonsense is nothing but pretense and lies.

An embryo or fetus is not menstrual blood and semen, but a living human organism with a system that is dependent yet distinct from its mother. Any scientist will tell you human life begins at conception, duh. So we need to cut the bullshit about this and be honest. We need to say: when is it ok to kill a defenceless human being? Is it ever ok?

My eventual decision was the disease which threatened my life may take both of us, but it wasn't taking just my daughter. It was the hardest decision of my life, choosing death or life together. I never got to a place where I had to reconsider; I found a treatment regimen that relieved most of the disease's effects. I won't judge a woman who chose to abort in order to live. I often spend my spare time mourning with her over the Internet.

But people like this woman, who has taken that week I spent on my bathroom floor wishing my daughter dead and made it into some kind of game, some school art project to cause scandal and attention? Yeah, I'm going to judge her. What a f*cking bitch.

Torq said...

Cin: I was going to try to be scathing and to highlight the horror of this "art," but you have made my point much better than I possibly could have.

You had to make a very hard decision and I am glad that everything worked out alright in the end.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the saddest things I have ever read.


Megan said...

Mom, don't forget that it's not real. It's basically a play.

Karen said...

From the Damien Hirst school of "yuck"...

I'm not sure there has ever been good performance art.