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Art and abortion at Yale
Yale University officials said on Friday that a senior Aliza Shvarts didn
 

What happened
Yale University officials said on Friday that a senior Aliza Shvarts didn’t really repeatedly artificially inseminate herself and induce miscarriages in an art project. “The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body,” Helaine S. Klasky, an associate dean, said. (FOXNews.com) But in a guest column published in Friday's student newspaper, the Yale Daily News, Shvarts said the project, which reportedly includes videotape of forced miscarriages, was real, although she never knew if she was actually pregnant. (AP via Google News)

What the commentators said
“Whether you really will be watching Aliza Shvarts kill her unborn children, or you will be watching Aliza Shvarts pretend to kill her unborn children,” said Rod Dreher in Beliefnet’s Crunchy Con blog, this so-called art project depicts Shvarts denying “her humanity,” and presenting “herself as a barbarian, to barbarians.” She claimed this wasn’t for “shock value,” but, “please.” That’s all it was, and the entire university should curl up in shame. “Utterly diabolical. Sick, Nazi-style stuff.”

Most of the headlines about this controversy are designed to reassure people that Shvarts’ tale is a hoax, said Mike Nizza in The New York Times’ The Lede blog. But before anyone can really know what to think about “this hoax masquerading as art,” something will have to give. Either Shvarts will have to come clean even if the truth will “compromise” her artistic credibility, or Yale will have to admit it doesn’t really know what happened.

It’s clear that Shvarts’ “sensational” story was phony, said Tom Weber in The Wall Street Journal’s Buzzwatch. As soon as the story was out, “even as groups on both sides of the abortion debate were reacting with outrage and dismay,” bloggers and others were pointing out the “sketchy details” on how she induced the miscarriages. “If the whirlwind showed once again how suddenly a wild tale can command attention in a digital age, it also demonstrated a corollary: Scrutiny—and, ultimately, debunking—comes just as swiftly.”

"Is it a hoax?" said Ben Greenman in an AOL blog. "Is it a piece of performance art? Can't it be both?"

 

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