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NYC art exhibit stresses that 'abortion is normal,' raises funds for Planned Parenthood

Organizers want 'to create an inclusive and empathetic entry point to this conversation'

Image source: Quicktake by Bloomberg/Twitter screenshot

In an effort to destigmatize the act of taking unborn children's lives and protect the legal ability to do so, a large group of artists is putting on a New York City art show with the message that "abortion is normal."

The exhibition origins actually lie with Alabama's passage and its governor's signature of a near-total abortion ban last year, The Guardian said in a story published earlier this week:

On 15 May, the day the law was signed, Jasmine Wahi, co-founder and director of Newark-based arts not-for-profit Project for Empty Space, texted artist, activist and fellow SVA MFA instructor Marilyn Minter. "We have to do something," she wrote. Within minutes, Minter responded that she was game.

The "something" that the pair ended up doing was a two-part, multidisciplinary exhibit called "Abortion is Normal: An Emergency Art Show." Part One of the exhibit will be on display at New York City's Eva Presenhuber gallery until Saturday and then Part Two will show at New York's Arsenal Contemporary gallery from Tuesday through Feb. 1, the show's website says, noting a long list of participating artists. The current effort is a continuation of an exhibit that debuted last fall, the Guardian notes.

The event's website also explains that the exhibition "brings together a heterogeneous array of artists countering with their personal response to abortion and abortion access in order to create an inclusive and empathetic entry point to this conversation."

While not all of the featured artists have personally had abortions, the website explains "the underlying thread of this exhibition is that abortion and reproductive health affect everyone."

As to the title, the site claims that calling abortion normal is "not meant to mitigate the gravity" of someone's decision to abort their unborn child "nor is it trying to make light of it." Rather, the explanation goes, "This title is meant intended as a statement of camaraderie and caring that in short says: What you choose to do with your body is OK — it is normal."

"Our sentiment is that abortion is part of health and reproductive justice, and anything having to do with reproductive justice has to do with body autonomy and body sovereignty," Wahi told ARTnews about the show earlier this month. "Therefore any type of medical procedure—anything that affects one's body—that is their choice to do should be normal."

So how exactly do the artists want to spread the message that "abortion is normal?"

A Bloomberg video highlighting the event shows a T-shirt that reads "Thank God for abortion," paintings of Supreme Court Justice of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while the event's website highlights depictions of bare-breasted women with pro-abortion messages written on them and a painting telling Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh "If you don't like abortions, don't get one."

And while it's incredibly difficult to imagine a New York City-based art show with such a jarring message changing that many, if any, pro-life life minds, the effort also plans to channel money to pro-abortion political efforts in the upcoming campaign cycle.

People can purchase the exhibits various pieces online, some of which cost tens of thousands of dollars. Organizers say that the proceeds from those sales "will fund voter education and advocacy specifically on reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood PAC efforts in upcoming 2020 elections via Downtown for Democracy."

One last thing…
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