THE DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN LIFE
At the 2019 March for Life, the largest anti-abortion rally in the world, President Trump made a special statement in which he said, “This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life.” Thousands of attendees enthusiastically applauded his statement alongside many of America’s most powerful political and religious leaders. An ironic celebration for a movement that has employed violence against medical centers, regularly harasses patients, and lies to vulnerable people in crisis. As speaker after speaker lamented over the “murderous” millions who obtain abortions each year, not a word of consideration was reserved for the experiences of those they slandered. The “nobility and dignity” of every human life as touted by the President neglected to recognize pregnant people as deserving of the protection, care, and dignity delegated to the philosophically and medically obscure “unborn.”
“The Dignity of Every Human Life” provided a concurrent response to the March for Life. The performance represented the sting of each degrading insult, each contradiction, and each celebratory roar at the expense of the “unmothers” who have been deemed less than those who have had the means and desire to have children. I was pregnant at the time of this performance awaiting my own abortion.
Set in the basement of a home, the March for Life livestream was projected onto my body while I was pummeled with over 100 pounds of rotten fruit throughout the duration of the event, which lasted an hour and a half. This performance was also livestreamed to provide a counter perspective through the eyes of those whom we rarely listen to, in real time. Performance often bridges a gap in understanding when words fall on deaf ears, as it certainly does in contentious political environments where those in power benefit from the silence of victims.
As overripe pulp exploded painfully against my skin, I was reminded that my womb shared a resemblance of fruit deemed unnatural and spoiled. Each blow echoed the weight of violence championed by political powers that tell us our lives and dignity matter less than that of a fetus, that our bodies are merely an incubator, and that we are murderers for terminating a pregnancy. The bruises that camouflaged my body from this performance remained visible until the day following my abortion, which left none.