Denise Crouch/MJ
Denise Crouch/MJ

By DENISE CROUCH, Guest Writer

Heather Ault, a graphic artist, researcher and abortion rights activist, gave her “4000 Years for Choice” presentation Thursday evening at Kochoff Hall in the University Center about the history and conflicts of abortion, contraceptive devices, and the research and artwork it inspired her to create.

Ault designs posters, T-shirts, and graphic art images with pro-choice slogans. Her work is displayed in art galleries, national conferences, university campuses, reproductive health clinics, and also on her Facebook page.

After having an abortion at age 29, Ault questioned why the experience left her feeling ashamed even though she was pro-choice, confident about her decision, and had no regrets.

It was at that time when she came across a book by historian Linda Gordon called “Women’s body, Women’s Right” that would be the inspiration behind her reproductive research and political artwork.

“To me it was like a goldmine; a story that we had never heard before, and I sort of decided at that time that to help promote the story would be a really great thing to do because of the fact that it had been so healing in my own life,” says Ault.

Her fieldwork was broken down into four categories: history, images, language and spaces. The history section explained what people knew about the subject such as back alley abortions and Roe vs. Wade. Images played a role in the feminist movement because pro-life activists brandished pictures of dead fetuses that pro-choice activists couldn’t compete with. Eventually, the depiction of a coat hanger inside a red circle with a line across it became the symbol of the pro-choice protesters.

Regarding language, she figured that the way stories were told by both opposing sides and the laws of attraction, determined who would win these political battles. For example, pro-choicers used messages that said “We need to win” while pro-lifers would say “We will win.”