Bodies Up For Grabs:
Reproduction, Politics and the Sacred

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Located at Judson Memorial church, this show will take place in midst of a week of actions and events that celebrate, mark and contemplate the 50th anniversary of Judson Memorial Church's fight for reproductive rights. Driven by a moral and spiritual conviction, 50 years ago, the church offered to find places that offered safe but still illegal abortion to women in need. The historical location of the exhibition invites artists and guests to consider the intersections of reproductive, politics and the sacred.

Judson and Reproductive Justice Then

Senior minister of Judson Memorial Church Howard Moody helped create the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion in 1967. It was the largest abortion referral service in the United States before Roe v. Wade. Made up of Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis, and dissident Catholic nuns and priests, the CCS lobbied for the repeal of abortion laws, challenged Catholic anti-abortion activists, and helped women obtain safe abortions in the United States and abroad.

Rooted in deeply held theological convictions, the clergy believed their ministry to those women in need was a response to a higher calling for justice and compassion. They elected to announce their services by cooperating with a story printed on the front page of The New York Times, published May 22, 1967.


And Now

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking history, Judson Memorial Church is hosting a series of events on May 21-22, 2017 that will include the Women’s Art show Bodies Up For Grabs: reproduction, politics and the sacred. While we celebrate the courage and vision of the CCS, we’ll also celebrate today’s courageous women and men who risk their lives and livelihood to assure women their legal right to be the moral agent regarding their own reproductive choices. 


Judson’s Commitment to Art as Protest:

Judson Memorial Church has a rich history committed to the arts that includes the famous People’s Flag Show which occurred in November 1970. The People's Flag Show was an exhibition of painting and sculpture on the theme of the American flag with a symposium that included speakers Abbie Hoffman and Kate Millet. During the final days of the exhibit, three of the contributing artists, Faith Ringgold, Jean Toche, and Jon Hendricks (known as “The Judson Three”), were arrested and the District Attorney closed the exhibit on charges of desecration of the American flag. Charges were made against ministers Moody and Carmines as well, but those were dropped. The Judson Three went to trial and noted in their defense: “…the only people prosecuted under these statutes are people who use the flag to express criticism and disagreement of the policies of the Government, while political charlatans who incorporate the flag with their cheap political rhetoric are unmolested.” They were found guilty but given suspended sentences. 

Other visual artists who have exhibited their work at Judson include: Jasper Jon, Claus Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Andre Serrano and Yoko Ono.

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