The University of Michigan paid $1,000 to pro-choice artist Heather Ault, who delivered a presentation and presented her "4,000 Years of Choice" collection. One piece in the collection declares "abortion is a gift from God."
Ault was paid to deliver a lecture on Jan. 16. Along with the lecture, Ault's art is being displayed on the UM campus until May. Students for Life of America is asking its supporters to contact the university to request that the display be removed.
The display is not about the political issues of abortion, a spokesperson for the university told SFLA, but about the history of women learning to abort their fetuses in order to gain control over when they are pregnant.
"Contrary to what they are saying, this display is not about pro-choice or even pro-abortion. This is about the history of women learning to control their reproductive system. Heather [Ault] is trying to get past the hanger and the idea of back ally dirty abortions and celebrate the ways women, and men for that matter, can control their reproductive system through birth control and even by aborting a fetus," Debra Schwartz, senior public relations representative for UM's Institute for Research on Women and Gender, said.
According to the 4000 Years For Choice website, Ault "is an award-winning artist, researcher, and activist for abortion rights and reproductive justice" and is "devoted to re-visioning the historical and cultural narrative of abortion and contraception."
Also on the website, Ault explains that the display is meant to convey the history of abortion as one of "reproductive empowerment, wisdom, and self-care" and "women's deeply ingrained desire to control pregnancies for the good of ourselves, our relationships, and our families."
Other posters in the art series read: "Abortion Providers Are Heros!," "Everyday Should Be Abortion Providor Appreciation Day!," "I Am Proud To Say It Out Loud. ABORTION! ABORTION! ABORTION! ABORTION!" and "Calm And Peace Radiate From This Space. Celebrate Abortion Clinics!"
Another series by Ault, called "Reproductive Roots" is a set of graphics designed to be shared on social media. These graphics, Ault writes on her website, are a critique of the combative language of the pro-choice movement. As an alternative, Ault wants to "focus on the inherent goodness in every woman's reproductive journey."
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, was on the UM campus Monday to see the exhibit. In a conversation with The Christian Post she confirmed that the art is prominently displayed in a UM building.
SLA says that Ault is not simply providing a history of abortion but is a pro-abortion activist. The pro-life group is calling on UM to remove the display, return the taxpayer funds that were used, and only use private money for such displays.
"Abortion is never safe for woman, legal or illegal, and for the University of Michigan to have the audacity to use taxpayer dollars and a taxpayer-funded building to push forth an agenda and human rights violation that the majority of Americans oppose is disgusting," Hawkins said in a Friday press release.