By Hilary White

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, April 22, 2008 ( – Aliza Shvarts’ senior art project was to be displayed today at Yale University’s School of Art, but a university official is warning that the project will be banned. Peter Salovey, dean of Yale College, said the display will be prohibited unless Shvarts confesses in writing that the project is a work of fiction and promises that no human blood will be used in the exhibition.

The display was scheduled to be opened today and was to be critiqued by faculty.

“In this case, we will not permit her to install the project unless she submits a clear and unambiguous written statement that her installation is a work of fiction: that she did not try to inseminate herself and induce miscarriages, and that no human blood will be physically displayed in her installation,” Salovey said in the statement.

Last week, Shvarts caused a firestorm of media attention when she announced that she had deliberately impregnated herself multiple times and then aborted her children using drugs over a period of nine months, as her senior art project. Yale University officials soon thereafter issued a statement that the claim was false and that Shvarts’ announcement had been a piece of “performance art”.  

Shvarts, however, insisted in a column in the Yale Daily News on Friday that she had indeed done as she had claimed. Shvarts said she had inseminated herself “as often as possible” over nine months and subsequently took herbal substances that are known to induce abortions. She claims to have preserved some of the blood from the process and to be storing it in a freezer. The exhibition was also to include video recordings of the abortions.

The press coverage was so intense that it shut down the website of the Yale Daily News. Public reaction to Shvarts’ announcement was such that even campus pro-abortion groups are distancing themselves from the student. The Executive Boards of the Reproductive Rights Action League at Yale (RALY) and the Yale Law Students for Reproductive Justice issued a statement saying that although Shvarts was “within her rights”, she was wrong to have done the self-induced abortions, if indeed she has done so.

In a letter to the Yale Daily News, the two groups said, “Although we stand by the right to reproductive freedom, we cannot approve of her approach and presentation…[W]e are shocked by the content of the art piece in question and the manner in which very serious aspects of reproductive rights have been treated. We seek to protect the rights of real women and real families who deal with real issues of health, safety and access.”

Ted Miller, a spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the concept of the art project is offensive and “not a constructive addition to the debate over reproductive rights.”

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life America (SFLA), told the Catholic News Agency that the university has an obligation to shut the project down.

“By letting Shvarts to complete her ‘art’ project, Yale allowed Shvarts to put herself in serious medical risk. The student even remarked in the article that she did not see the need in consulting a physician prior to self-abortions because everything she used was legal.”

  Read related coverage:

Yale Student Insists Abortion “Art Project” NOT a Hoax