Professor at Catholic university seeks entries for ‘art’ project on ‘representing abortion’
ANTIGONISH, Nova Scotia, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A left-wing professor at Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University is soliciting submissions for a pro-abortion art project, a call that has been picked up by several educational institutions in the United States.
Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the Catholic University. Her website says her teaching “centres on my areas of expertise, including historical and contemporary feminist theories, embodiment, and cultural studies.”
The College Fix reports that American schools including the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, as well as the American Association for the History of Medicine, have posted notices in which Hurst seeks submission for a project titled “Representing Abortion.”
Quoting calls by feminist writers to retake “the visual terrain” from pro-life activists, particularly the “field of fetal imagery,” Hurst wants to collect works that “create space to make abortion visible, audible, and palpable within contexts dominated by antiabortion imagery centred on the fetus and the erasure of the person considering or undergoing abortion.”
“Will reclaiming representations of abortion help publicly express the ‘things we cannot say’ about abortion from a pro-choice perspective, like grief and multiple abortions?” she asks. “Alternatively, does taking back control of representing abortion from antiabortion activists provide a space to ‘celebrate’ abortion as a central component of reproductive justice?”
The posting lists several examples of possible contributions: firsthand abortion stories via text or audio, artwork, performances, films, and plays. Another option listed is “making the abortion procedure visible, audible, and palpable in abortion support services (e.g. offering the option to view products of conception; abortion support zines).”
Pro-abortion activists often fixate on emotional appeals by post-abortive women as a silver bullet of sorts to the abortion debate. Such efforts have largely failed to make abortion more popular, and pro-life activists often counter it with the testimony of women who regret and suffered from their abortions.
The University of Pennsylvania and American Association for the History of Medicine did not respond to The College Fix’s requests for comment. Harvard’s Cristine Hutchison-Jones said the school merely “post[s] opportunities to our website that relate to topics of interest to the health law and bioethics scholarly community,” and that promoting the solicitation “does not imply any endorsement or approval.”
“I think making abortion ‘visible, audible, and palpable’ is unfortunate and clearly seeks to make abortion out to be a beautiful thing,” Harvard Right to Life president Kelley Babphavong responded. “We need to show that abortion is actually an act that HURTS, not heals, not only the child, but also the mother — just look at Silent No More as an example.”
“What happened to the days where abortion was supposed to be ‘safe, legal, and rare’?” she asked.
This is not the first time the school has run afoul of Catholic doctrine on the right to life. In 2013 its Coady International Institute invited Michele Landsberg, a radical abortion advocate and anti-Christian voice, to speak at its tenth anniversary dinner. The school is also among the Canadian Catholic institutions currently approved for the Canadian Summer Jobs Program, despite the program requiring recognition of a “right” to abortion.