The cultural push to paint abortion as unremarkable and routine health care took an artistic twist three weeks ago in New York City. As the Daily Beast reported at the time, a art project called Abortion is Normal launched in the Big Apple, not far from the Margaret Sanger Center. The “intersectional approach” aims to act as a “reclamation of space” in the body politic, according to its co-curator Jasmine Wahi:
Those involved hope that the pieces will be bought, with the proceeds going to the super PAC Downtown for Democracy and Planned Parenthood’s 2020 election efforts.
Despite the many iterations of “Abortion Is” sayings out there (health care, moral), the use of the word “normal” got pushback from some on the left, who felt that the subject matter shouldn’t be taken lightly. (Artnet called the title “provocative.”)
“We wanted to look at abortion from a health-care procedure—any health-care procedure you do that is your choice to do should be considered normalized and not stigmatized,” Wahi said.
“Provocative” is one word for it, but tactically it’s rather foolish as well, as we shall soon see. Wahi and her colleagues were having none of that talk, however, declaring that only the “right wing” was responsible for making abortion anathema:
“The fact that people were objecting to the name ‘Abortion is Normal,’ was kind of stunning for us, because women have been getting abortions for millennia,” the artist Marilyn Minter said. “And it’s normal. It’s always been normal, but the right wing has made abortion toxic.”
“They coopted the language,” Laurie Simmons said. “They’ve taken the language and used words like ‘murder,’ ‘guilt,’ and ‘shame.’”
Go figure that a “normal” action that kills another human life would cause people to use precisely those words. People have been doing a lot of things for millennia, but that doesn’t make them normal or right. We have laws against most of them, but people still do them — like murder, theft, and assault, for instance. Guilt and shame are natural consequences to such acts, and are not just words coming from the “right wing” but from women themselves who live to regret their abortions. Increasingly, those also come from abortion-industry workers who finally leave places like Planned Parenthood, such as Abby Johnson.
Tactically, though, attempting to call abortion “normal” leaves the field wide open for rebuttals. An anonymous group of activists responded on Friday to the art project, posting pictures taken from the Philadelphia grand jury report on Kermit Gosnell under the banner “Abortion is NOT normal.”One of the activists contacted me with the information and some pictures of the artwork on the street.
Note: Some of the images below are graphic and disturbing:
Early Friday morning, anonymous activists decorated the New York gallery hosting the “Abortion is Normal” art show with posters strongly refuting that sentiment.
The large posters pasted around the gallery show the image of a nearly full-term baby girl aborted by convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. Text in the style of Barbara Kruger — an artist participating in the exhibit — reads: “Abortion is NOT normal” and “This is now legal in New York.”
For the last month, the “Abortion Is Normal” exhibit was on display at two galleries in Manhattan and advertised as “an urgent call-to-action exhibition to raise both awareness and funding in support of accessible, safe, and legal abortion.”
Artists’ statement: “None of the high-profile artists featured in “Abortion Is Normal” even came close to depicting the reality of the act they profess to love so much, so we took it upon ourselves to do it for them. You’re welcome.”
I’ll put the pictures in thumbnail mode. Click on them to expand:
Most likely, this is why some on the Left objected to the theme of the show, as well as its (mostly) soft-focus art. The reality of abortion, and its newly unrestricted legality in New York until the moment of birth, is never depicted in this art show, and for good reason. It’s the same reason this counterprotest didn’t generate much coverage — because the reality of abortion is that it kills a unique human life. That may be many things, but it’s not “health care,” and it’s NOT normal.