University sponsors art exhibition on ‘Reproductive Justice’

The University of South Florida Women’s and Gender Studies Department co-sponsored an art exhibit exploring ‘police violence,’ ‘abortion rights and access,’ and ‘being intentionally childfree.’

One exhibit is based on women who created a device ‘designed to allow women to perform safe, simple, at-home terminations of early pregnancy.’

A University of South Florida (USF) co-sponsored art exhibit, “Reproductive Justice is for Everyone,” will soon come to a close

The event website describes the exhibit as “‘full of fantastic artists creating art that facilitates conversation and positive change.’”

“The thirty pieces included in this exhibition were selected by jury process from nearly seventy submissions,” the description reads. Exhibited artwork represents topics including “police violence,” “abortion rights and access,” “historical abortion and fertility control,” “motherhood, being intentionally childfree, being denied the right to have children, and more.” 

One artist’s painting, Lorraine, belongs to a series depicting “‘non-hierarchical networks’” for women “‘sharing reproductive information with other women, sidestepping patriarchal systems of control,’” according to its description. 

The artist gave examples of these women. “‘In 1971, Lorraine Rothman and Carol Downer created the Del Em menstrual extraction device, designed to allow women to perform safe, simple, at-home terminations of early pregnancy,’” the description reads. 

“‘Rothman and Downer sought to return reproductive sovereignty to women, mitigating the need for medical training, equipment, or even the legality of abortion.’”

[RELATED: ‘Thank abortion providers’ during ‘Sex Week,’ student group tells classmates]

Another artist exhibited an animated short called Not a Sheinspired by the artist’s diagnosis with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The Mayo Clinic describes PCOS as a condition impacting women in which symptoms “start around the time of the first menstrual period.” 

“‘While I was thankful to have answers, the experience navigating the reproductive health world was highly gendered and left me feeling angry,’” the artist said. “‘I wasn’t a woman, and yet I was forced to occupy the space of womanhood in order to seek proper healthcare.’”

The exhibition’s artists and jurors referred to the Supreme Court ending the constitutional protection for abortion. A juror statement says that “‘[t]he recent overturning of Roe v. Wade is a harsh reminder that we need to fight for our body autonomy now more than ever.” 

Jurors included professors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Tacoma Community College

The USF co-sponsor is the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, which hosted the first “Reproductive Justice is for Everyone!” from 2019-2020. A description of the department claims to “promote social justice” and “expose limits in traditional higher education caused by excluding women and other marginalized groups.”

The spring 2023 semester will include courses on “Reproductive Justice,” the “Politics of Women’s Health,” and “Gender and Sex in Popular Music.” “Politics of Women’s Health” covers topics such as “who regulates pregnant bodies” and whether people “should be concerned about an ‘obesity epidemic’ or whether [they] should work toward fat acceptance,” according to the course description. 

[RELATED: This California university is offering a grant to fund pro-abortion films]

JAM Humanities, a non-profit that aims “to challenge perspectives, increase cultural awareness, and promote social justice,” hosted this year’s exhibit. 

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June 2022, Campus Reform reported on abortion’s support from faculty members and administrators. 

Campus Reform shared a post-Roe statement from the dean of Yale Divinity School (YDS), who wrote that “[t]here is no biblical basis for the ban on abortion.” 

“YDS is a graduate branch of Yale University and claims to prepare its students” for the “Christian ministry,” Campus Reform reported. “The school [identifies as] ‘interdenominational and completely nonsectarian.’”

Other statements of support for abortion came from colleges and universities participating in an event hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Their discussion on abortion access included representatives from “the University of California-Irvine, Tennessee State University, Dartmouth College, City University of New York, and others,” according to Campus Reform. 

Campus Reform shared a statement from the president of one of the participants, Oberlin College, who said that overturning Roe is “about more than a woman’s right to choose for Oberlin’s campus; it is about the fundamental and growing issues of inequity that this decision portends.” 

Campus Reform contacted USF, the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Reproductive Justice is for Everyone, the artists behind the Lorraine and Not a She exhibits, and JAM Humanities. This article will be updated accordingly.