The show’s description promotes local abortion facilities
A group of Princeton University students performed a feminist musical over the weekend focused on abortion and “self-empowerment.”
“To All the Babies I’ve Killed Before; A Love/Hate Letter to Storytelling” explores “the challenges of being heard and cultivating self-empowerment as a queer, cognitively-disabled (ADHD) woman in artistic spaces that traditionally center archaic, western, patriarchal narratives grounded in firm structures of storytelling and comedy,” according to a program description.
The production, written by Princeton senior Jenni Lawson, debuted on Friday and Saturday in the school’s Lewis Center for the Arts.
Lawson is a history and theatre major who is “[e]specially passionate about the production of New Works, musical comedy, and projects that deal with feminist, (dis)ability-oriented, and LGBTQ+/queer theme,” according to her LinkedIn.
The title “twists a well-known saying to many writers, ‘sometimes you have to kill your babies,’” according to the thespians.
“Questions of agency and womanhood have, of course, long plagued our society in more ways than just artistic expression,” the description reads. “Today, in the U.S., more than 19 million women live in contraceptive deserts, lacking access to affordable reproductive healthcare, and legislative proposals across many states threaten to exacerbate this disparity even further.”
The description directs readers to a Planned Parenthood website to find local abortion facilities in New Jersey.
The College Fix asked Lawson in an Instagram message how the show handles the topic of abortion, if the title implicitly refers to abortion and for any other comments on the story’s intended message but did not receive a response to two inquiries sent in the past two days.
The Fix also asked cast members Jani Dumapit and Julia Elman for comment twice via Instagram in the past two days but did not receive a response.
Dumapit’s senior thesis involves “researching musical theatre history and how the stage has been used as a representation for real world issues, particularly regarding psychiatry,” according to her LinkedIn.
Elman was distraught in June 2022 because the Supreme Court ruled that there was no federal right to end the lives of preborn babies through abortion. “Words can’t express this feeling in the pit of my stomach,” she wrote on her Instagram on June 27, 2022. “But the amazing people I’ve met this weekend who are working tirelessly to fight for the right to choose keep me going. My body, my choice.”
Social media users had a similar sick feeling in their stomach when they learned about Elman’s musical.
“The glee that people express when talking about their abortion(s) is appalling,” one social media user wrote in response to Princeton’s announcement of the show on social media.
“Sickening evil cruelty,” another commenter wrote. “This is very saddening. If you wanted viewers to puke, you’ve succeeded!”
An Instagram account created specifically for the musical has now been made private.
A New Jersey pro-life leader criticized the play.
“I think the title is indicative of the Abortion Movement’s brazen admission and support of killing babies up to the moment of birth,” Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life told The Fix via email. “It’s also sickening that the same University that would undoubtedly censor a Pro-Life play would embrace this one.”
Editor’s note: The article has been updated with comments from Tasy.