Art student Aliza Shvarts’ unholy, cavalier attitude toward the sanctity of the human blastocyst has squanked out the Yale undergraduate art department.
To obtain materials for her senior art project — a cube encased in plastic and blood onto which video is projected — Shvarts, over a period of nine months, inseminated herself “as often as possible,” induced an undisclosed number of miscarriages, videotaped the events subsequently transpiring in her bathtub, and preserved the effluents.
Ours is a quaint, superstitious culture with strict rules about where and when and why and how male and female reproductive materials may touch. There are different consequences depending on the sex of the parties involved. For example, there are no consequences at all for men (unless they are homos). But women sure have a lot of explaining to do if their genetic material touches someone else’s before they have secured the permission of a bunch of authority figures, such as the ghost of a dead Nazarene on a stick, their dad, their boyfriend, or the U.S. Government.
Genetic material co-minglings that end before a live birth can occur are sometimes overlooked if they are seen as the expression of a popular deity’s capricious nature. These are called “miscarriages” and are God’s will. However, exceptions may obtain if the woman miscarrying is of low moral character, say, a teen slut (as we saw last week, if a teenager exhibits the poor judgement to (a) get knocked up and (b) expel the tissue on a plane, Homicide marches her straight off to the hoosegow), or an art student.
Should a free-wheelin’ Bohemian chick expel reproductive material as a function of her own agency, her motives (unlike those of the deity) can only be interpreted as insufferably self-serving and nefarious, an affront to human decency, even sociopathic. According to the Yale Daily News, the general tone around campus (among those who have heard of Shvarts) seems to be one of “shock.” One undergrad opined that inducing miscarriages for purposes of senior art projects is “morally wrong.” Another was quoted as being unimpressed with the work to the extent that she feels it violates the Constitution.
So a woman may have a miscarriage, but only if she doesn’t want one.
And lard help her if she should try to make a political statement with it.
Whether or not the reproductive material from a young bohemian’s uterus may be exhibited without incident on cubes in Undergraduate Art Shows at Yale remains to be seen; few authority figures know about Shvarts yet. The Yale paper says that, as of yesterday, the even campus reproductive activist groups were unaware of the piece. I suspect that the reason the uterus cops haven’t called out a hit on Shvarts is that they haven’t yet had the pleasure of being scandalized and titillated by her flagrant abuse of her magic feminine powers.
UPDATE: Turns out Shvarts was just pulling our leg! Obviously bucking for a slot on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”
According to the Chicago Trib: “When confronted by three senior Yale officials, including two deans, Shvarts acknowledged that she was never pregnant and did not induce abortions.” Even so,
Ted Miller, a spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the concept offensive and “not a constructive addition to the debate over reproductive rights.”
Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, an anti-abortion group, said his anger was not mitigated by the fact that Shvarts may never not have been pregnant. “I’m astounded by this woman’s callousness,” he said.
I’m kind of disappointed. If it had been real, it would have been gross and asinine, but worth an hour and a half of my life writing an essay about. Now that it’s fake, it’s just asinine. Shvarts owes me an hour and a half.