For Senior, Abortion a Medium for Art, Political Discourse

The insane actions and delusional rationalizations of this college senior point to what happens when man stops believing in God and the sanctity of human life.
Yale Daily News | Martine Powers | Apr. 17, 2008

Art major Aliza Shvarts ’08 wants to make a statement. 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.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. 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.”

The “fabricators,” or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself.

Art major Juan Castillo ’08 said that although he was intrigued by the creativity and beauty of her senior project, not everyone was as thrilled as he was by the concept and the means by which she attained the result.

“I really loved the idea of this project, but a lot other people didn’t,” Castillo said. “I think that most people were very resistant to thinking about what the project was really about. [The senior-art-project forum] stopped being a conversation on the work itself.”

Although Shvarts said she does not remember the class being quite as hostile as Castillo described, she said she believes it is the nature of her piece to “provoke inquiry.”

“I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity,” Shvarts said. “I think that I’m creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be.”

The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.

School of Art lecturer Pia Lindman, Schvarts’ senior-project advisor, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Few people outside of Yale’s undergraduate art department have heard about Shvarts’ exhibition. Members of two campus abortion-activist groups . Choose Life at Yale, a pro-life group, and the Reproductive Rights Action League of Yale, a pro-choice group . said they were not previously aware of Schvarts’ project.

Alice Buttrick ’10, an officer of RALY, said the group was in no way involved with the art exhibition and had no official opinion on the matter.

Sara Rahman ’09 said, in her opinion, Shvarts is abusing her constitutional right to do what she chooses with her body.

“[Shvarts’ exhibit] turns what is a serious decision for women into an absurdism,” Rahman said. “It discounts the gravity of the situation that is abortion.”

CLAY member Jonathan Serrato ’09 said he does not think CLAY has an official response to Schvarts’ exhibition. But personally, Serrato said he found the concept of the senior art project “surprising” and unethical.

“I feel that she’s manipulating life for the benefit of her art, and I definitely don’t support it,” Serrato said. “I think it’s morally wrong.”

Shvarts emphasized that she is not ashamed of her exhibition, and she has become increasingly comfortable discussing her miscarriage experiences with her peers.

“It was a private and personal endeavor, but also a transparent one for the most part,” Shvarts said. “This isn’t something I’ve been hiding.”

The official reception for the Undergraduate Senior Art Show will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 25. The exhibition will be on public display from April 22 to May 1. The art exhibition is set to premiere alongside the projects of other art seniors this Tuesday, April 22 at the gallery of Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall on Chapel Street.

. . . more


13 thoughts on “For Senior, Abortion a Medium for Art, Political Discourse”

  1. I find this horrible and shocking. ( why anything shocks me today, I am not sure)
    This girl has no concept about human life and the precious gift of children.
    She well could of ruined her chances to have children.
    Which would seem like a perfect “punishment” for the disregard she has shown for human life.
    I think this story will have legs and we will see more of it in the media.
    This is not art.

  2. The further and further away from Christ (the Absolute Truth) and God one gets, the less human and rational one becomes. As G.K. Chesterton said, “When men stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything.”

  3. I remember a movie that was made about 33 years ago. This film consisted of a woman being abducted and then slowly sexually abused and mutilated to death. This wasn’t a movie with an actress playing the role of the abducted woman, it was a real documentary! Copies of this film were put up for sale and I believe there were some movie houses that showed it. It was considered to be pornographic art. I met a successful, rich businessman, who in the course of our conversation, mentioned how great this film was and how much he enjoyed watching it. When I expressed my outrage, he just made a crass remark to me. He went on to create some off-shore business in the Bahamas. Even though I expect you readers to be very skeptical and not believe me, it is a very true story.
    Human life has become devalued. This has been going on for quite some time. The forces of Satanism are actively at work to destroy God’s creation. This art project where this woman impregnates herself only to kill her unborn babies is an excellent example of Satan’s destructive work. Not only is the world of art being desecrated, but so is human life. This woman has become a useful idiot. Doing Satan’s work will eventually wreak havoc on that person aiding Satan. I believe Satan is really destroying this woman and she is aiding him in this deed.

  4. I’ve got to think this whole thing through but this initially caught my eye:

    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.”

    Not “designed for ‘shock value'”? Of course it is.

    Inspires discourse? On what? Abortion? Geez, as if abortion has not been debated for at least three decades.

    The piece is not intended to “scandalize anyone”? Please. That is exactly what it is intended to do.

    This piece strikes at sacred spaces — the soul really, even of activist pro-abortionists. Notice how even they recoil at the piece? It strikes deep because it is drawn from deep places.

    I can’t help but wonder if ultimately this is not an attempt to atone for an abortion in a conceptual and moral universe that offers no room for atonement.

  5. It sounded like a hoax to me. If so, I hope the woman in question has a good laugh.

    And then maybe she can have a good laugh over starvation, child abuse, and cancer.

    The word that comes most readily to mind is “despicable.”

  6. It has been “posted” that this is all for shock value and may just be a hoax. Sure it may be. But I think about how the old saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. I would be a nice way to bail out of this when the heat gets turned up to claim that it was just a joke. Of course this project has “shock value” but after getting shocked so many times, the public gets a “shock absorber” built into them. Thus, perverted behavior becomes just a little bit more normal and accepted. Devaluing human life becomes accepted. Who wants to be “square” as the 1950s term used to refer to folks who were “just not in with the times”. That movie that showed a woman actually being abducted and murdered was no hoax. People became desensitized to such a thing because there was a lot of pornography that simulated this type of activity put out previously to the real thing being filmed. This art project is a great way to further desensitize the “folks” to abortion. Who knows, maybe abortion being accepted as just another form of birth control could lead to the killing of children who just didn’t get aborted in time.

  7. This outrageous situation proves once again that liberalism and leftism are serious mental and spiritual disorders. No matter how you look at it this woman has some deep psychological problems and spiritual demons she’s dealing with.

    Assuming this was a hoax, this shows how perverse, corrupted, radically delusional, and unfunny the leftists are. This is obscene beyond belief, right up there with Rev. Wright’s cursing of America, blaming white for AIDS, and blaming “racism” for the high crime and murder rates in black neighborhoods.

    However, something fishy may be going on here… The “artist” who didn’t intend to “shock” us, now claims it was all fiction. I smell a rat who recanted and made up excuses to stem the tsunami of outrage that drenched her and Yale. No matter how you slice it, she’s sick and delusional and has bought into the leftist/liberal lies hook line and sinker.

  8. This sickening despicable story proves one more thing..

    The lady wouldn’t have made headlines if we didn’t all know that she was indeed aborting not a bunch of cells but babies!

    That she considered this an item for discourse only shows that she knew (and “they” know though they don’t admit it) that a baby is a baby from conception.

    Lord have mercy on us

  9. Dia,

    Excellent point! You have made a very important observation. You are right! “The lady wouldn’t have made headlines if we didn’t all know that she was indeed aborting not a bunch of cells but babies!” The amazing thing is that as hard as they try (and boy to they try!) to make abortion “normal” and treat human life as objects, even the radical liberals and leftists, who normally champion unlimited abortion as a birthright, were outraged by this.

  10. This story has been getting quite a bit of publicity lately. Of course, the “artist’s” name has also become known. There are some people who Ifeel that the best thing we can do about this story is ignore it. Obviously, when people write about this work of art on blogs, etc., the story just keeps getting more and more attention. Well, Lately I’ve noticed the news media has been talking and writing a lot about the “priest sex scandal”, as they call it. All of the attention to the sex abuse by priests, of course eventually creates an association and image, in the publics mind, of priest being a sex perverts. I suspect that is the desired effect by folks who operate the news information industry. Of course this sex abuse has happened much less often than the news folks would like to admit. Now, by talking about the perverted art exhibit at Yale University, maybe it will be Yale University that ends up getting a lot of attention. This type of attention that Yale would get would not at all be glamorous. As a matter of fact, I don’t think Yale University wants this kind of negative publicity to be made about itself. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Yale has an image it wants to uphold. Maybe by talking about this abortion art project, Yale University may decide to be a little bit more careful about what it allows its students to do in the future. As far as this “artist” goes, she may get famous for a little while, but in a few years, she’ll be forgotten. I can’t seem to recall who made that work with a crucifix in a vile of urine.

  11. Has the girl’s story been debunked as a hoax yet?

    I can’t seem to recall who made that work with a crucifix in a vile of urine.

    Andres Serrano. But the point that artists who create a brief controversy are soon forgotten is a valid one.

  12. Dear Blogger:

    Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, recently posted two videos on YouTube in which he describes and demonstrates the two most common abortion procedures, using plastic fetal models, the actual instruments of abortion, and the words found in medical textbooks and court testimony.

    You can view these videos at: (Dismemberment abortion) (Suction abortion).

    These videos are part of a new project called, “Is This What You Mean?” It aims to educate the public about the nature of abortion and to challenge public officials and candidates who support the legality of abortion to admit what it is. A full description of the project is at .

    I am requesting that you post links on your blog to these two videos and/or to the full explanation of this powerful project.

    We in the pro-life community have been fed up for a long time with “public servants” who can’t seem to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. This election season, it’s time for that to change. No matter what politicians or voters or Church officials are or are not going to do, it’s time that we who know what abortion is, draw a line in the sand and give candidates and office-holders alike this challenge.

    If you will help spread the word by posting these links please email .

    Thank you,

    Mrs. Amy Seltzer, MEV

Comments are closed.