Pro-Choice Tattoo

This “fetal sacred heart” is a pretty politically intense chestpiece to get… Stiggy just had it started by Johnny at New Addiction Tattoos in Kalamazoo, MI. Definitely a conversation starter.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

71 thoughts on “Pro-Choice Tattoo

  1. I would find it hard to make love to someone with a chestpiece like that. I don’t exactly want to be looking at fetuses and coat hangers during sex :/

  2. Lizz… the hangers are making a statement about the fact that were abortion to be outlawed women would still find ways to get them as they did before abortions were legal. the hangers illustrate one such unsanitary and dangerous method. definitly not a pro-life tattoo.

  3. im pro choice but i don’t think ripping babies outa women and killing them as a great thing, w hich is what this tattoo apears say to me.

    like hurray, lets tear them lil fuckers outa her womb!

    with all the technology we have, you’d think thered be some cleaner, more humane way of not having children.

    well to many motherfuckers are being born anyway, so i guess its good that some get teh hanger

  4. I’d would totally dig seeing that. It’s creative, vivid, and brutally honest. I don’t know, there’s something about putting your beliefs right out there — no matter how much it might piss other people off — that is so hot.

  5. #12 – Seems as though that might be the case. Making some sort of a societal statement is a thin excuse to be “shocking”.

  6. I am pro-choice yet I find this tat more disturbing than “Jesus Fucking Christ.” My daughter pointed out the pro-choice aspect to it, otherwise I would not have been able to really pin it down. Definitely out there!

  7. i kind of dig it. but the shape is kind of strange to me. and i don’t get the witness part. but i like the play off of the sacred heart, for sure.

  8. I’m pro-life but I think the hangers in place of the crown of thorns is pretty clever. In other words, I don’t have to like the subject/content to appreciate the creativity.

  9. i don’t think it is pro-choice, i think it is prolife, thus the unbilical cord is attached to the light…sun whatever…

  10. I would have guessed pro life, the hangers keeping it in, not pulling it out, the cord still there (regardless what it’s attached to), the fetus in a heart, “witness” suggesting Christianity and informing people of the life that’s already started.

    Then again you could twist it: the hangers being a crown of thorns suggesting it’ll be crucified, the cord attached to a light signifying it being pulled to heaven, witness suggesting that even though it dies it’ll have a better life in another world.

    I’d like to know what she has to say.

  11. I completely misread the title and thought this was pro-life until I saw the comments. Hm.

  12. I suppose that deserves some clearing up. I’m pro-choice, and #20 pretty much nailed it on the head. I’m pro-choice and I’m also religious. Those two things are the two ideas in my life I’d be most comfortable talking to anybody about at almost any time, and this seemed like a fine cross between the two. It’s not finished, though (we intend to add flanking images on either side, representing both religion and autonomy seperately.)

  13. This is fucking fantastic.
    I ran the laptop over and showed it to my mom. She loved it. I’d like to hear from the ballsy girlie who got it; find out more about the circumstances and such.

  14. I found it really confusing as well. I’d say I think it’s too open to interpretation, but if she got it purely for herself, then other people’s interpretations probably wouldn’t matter to her.

    *shrug* I’m still confused.

  15. Quoted from Wikipedia’s article on “sacred heart”:

    The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming stylized heart, pierced by the lance-wound, surrounded by a crown of thorns, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is superimposed over Jesus’ body with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents love. This motif has become a part of vernacular culture through its appropriation by tattoo artists.

    I can’t visit Stiggy’s IAM page at the moment; she may have more insight there as to how to interpret the tattoo.

    Based off of its implicit link with the Christian sacred heart motif, however, I would certainly be inclined to interpret it as celebrating/memorializing an aborted fetus; swapping out thorns for hangers + the word “witness” = implying that she is bearing witness to the death of a fetus/multiple fetuses (fetii?). Now, whether this is bearing witness in order to argue that legalizing abortion is the right thing because it doesn’t involve using things like coat hangers, or in order to argue that it’s wrong, that’s not obvious to me.

  16. I’m pro-choice, but all politics aside I’m not much of a fan of this tattoo.
    Is the Christian reference out of irony? A sort of satire of pro-life fundamentalists?

    I think I would prefer it if the fetus was less developed and more photorealistic. It reminds me too much of those anti-abortion propaganda posters.

  17. This is what I love about modblog. Everyone has seen something different and taken something unique away from this tattoo, like it or not. Every day I find myself stopping and thinking about something in here… with the possible exception of Pauly’s holy nutsack tatt, haha

  18. I guess it was difficult to incorporate the gin bottle and hot bath method into the picture also.

    This is some pretty intense artwork, one im sure was not just a spur of the moment decision to get. I personally would love to know her reasons & sentiments into having this done.

    Is the tattoo, symbolic to her personally or just her general beliefs in life.

  19. I like the idea of having a strong prochoice chestpiece, and I really want to like this tattoo.

    However, there are some things that just bug me. Like I know in order to make the point that its about abortion the baby has to look like a baby, but most abortions happen when a baby looks more like a glob of cells. I think this actually harms rather than helps the cause, because it implies that abortions happen when the fetus is developed, and that is not, for the most part, the case.

    Not only that but I think that it’s TOO open to interpretation for a politically motivated tattoo. If you want to make a statement, you need to make a clear one that both the people who are going to appreciate it and the people who aren’t going to appreciate it are going to understand. Too many people in modblog alone weren’t sure if it was pro-life or pro-choice, or what she meant by it, so when she goes out wearing a v-neck shirt most people who see it won’t know what to think. Yes, you can say that since tattoos are personal it doesn’t matter what other people think, but this tattoo seems like it was done to make a statement to other people rather than to herself.

    Either way kudos to the girl for having the guts to tattoo something this controversial in such an obvious place.

  20. It is an interesting tattoo, but upon first inspection it really does seem like a pro-life tattoo. I suspect that Stiggy will get a number of very interesting reactions from people who see it on her person – I hope she is ready for some heated debates! Any time I wear anything remotely pro-choice I get dirty looks or comments.

    #10 – even with perfect use, birth control can fail.

  21. It looking like a baby was precisely the point. The idea was that I’m not apologizing about it, and that I won’t be swayed by the “But it’s a baby!” “argument,” in that even if I agreed, it wouldn’t matter to me. At any rate, the picture it was drawn from was actually that of an eight week old fetus, this is obviously much, much bigger than that.

    I’ve been heavily involved in pro-choice activism, I worked at Planned Parenthood for a few years in the rooms where abortions are performed, while they were actually being done. I’d be happy to talk to most anybody about this, I’d be happy to testify even after my death why I believe I was right in doing this. Someone who testifies is a witness, so on and so forth.

    33: If anybody should have questions, they’re more than welcome to ask them, I just wasn’t interested in getting all the text I wrote above this statement put in a tattoo. :)

  22. Stiggy, that’s just amazing. I’m pro-choice (and the word “but” isn’t going to follow) and you rock so much.

  23. I’m pro-choice and like the idea, but the execution confuses me. Particularly “Witness” — what am I supposed to be witnessing? The coathanger abortions women will have if abortion is criminalized or difficult to get?

    Or does Witness mean tell people (in that odd Christian misuse of the word) about back-alley abortions, or what?

    And why in the world is only one of the coathangers glowing green?

  24. Oh oops. just went to Stiggy’s page and noticed it’s not finished — that may be why there’s only one green bit.

  25. im really happy that this person is happy with this tattoo, and happy/confident with her beliefs, and able/willing to talk about religion or abortion whenever the time comes (paraphrasing from her above comment)

    because holy crap, it annoys me when people grab my arm and ask “what’s that tattoo” or even pulling my pants down (yes, FOR REAL) to see what i have on my back. strangers touching me like that bothers me…ive learnt to laugh it off more often than not now, BUT i dont have any tattoos that would spark a debate as heated as ones about abortion and/or religion can get.

    so girl, if you can handle the people that are going to give you fucked up looks and tell you that you are wrong/and other negative things (because there will be…unfortunatly…if i get them over having flowers and stars, your going to get it over this) than keep on fuckin truckin. and good luck out there :/

  26. 37: I actually cleared up the “witness” thing a little bit in 35, that may help. It’s not finished yet, though. We did right around 4 hours on it and at that point I was certainly ready to be done (one of those “no really, I’m about to cry, we’re done right this second,” things.) :) We’ve got about two hours left to put into this center part and then we’ll start on these two other pieces to flank this one.

    39: Definitely people have made it a conversation piece. That’s fine with me, of course, one because of it’s placement and two because it means so much to me that I’m not too bothered by it. .

    Outside of work definitely people have had questions. I’ve been approached more than a few times in Meijer’s about it. One cashier was rude to me and said I should be ashamed. After that, a large, old black woman who was behind me leaned in to the cashier and said “That’s a very peculiar thing to say to someone you don’t know. You should be ashamed,” which I loved.

  27. Shannon: “Definitely a conversation starter.”

    Remember when any mod was a conversation starter? Hehe.

    This is really pretty intense. Content and its placement both. Someone above remarked that they would have trouble “making love” while seeing this tattoo. Probably many would, and those are precisely the types of personalities (no offense of course) that she’d probably wish to weed out as a potential partner. So it’s an effective filter. She can more easily find others who are passionate about this topic in the way she is.


  28. people like horrible tattoos done by amatuers? i really hope no one got paid for this. i cant even begin to think of its meaning.

    soooooo bad. worst tattooist on modblod nominee

  29. Seriously, did you even read any of the comments before posting this ^? It’s two hours away from being finished.

  30. Wow, 46. I don’t know how much of his other work you’ve actually seen, but this particular piece is 2 hours from being done and there are still five hours to go on each side of it to flank it and make it a full chest piece. I don’t know how long you’ve been tattooing or who you learned from that told you this was the worst tattoo you’ve ever seen, but I can only assume you’re a god of tattooing (so much so that you couldn’t even leave your name.) Show your work, be proud, buddy.

  31. I’m sorry, that was a shitty thing to say. I’m the queen of knee-jerk reactions sometimes. It’s too bad you don’t think there’s any quality to it, I’m sure you think you could do much better. Just a matter of disagreement, I suppose. Anyway, sorry for flipping out.

  32. What would make one go about getting this piece?… Is what I wonder.

  33. Geez.. that is going to be AWKWARD for anyone having sex with her, ever again.

    Or seeing her at the beach. Or for her doctor.

    I mean…wow…abortion is a serious topic, but why do you have to broadcast your views to everyone, ever??

  34. i was thisclose to commenting on how much i love that modblog not only serves as a great place to showcase some beautiful photos, but provides us with an open forum for discussion. (which is still true) and we are all deeply passionate within the community and can have mature discussions and debates about the subject matter we see, and maybe even learn a thing or two.

    then i read #46′s comment… and i threw up a little in my mouth. when i see comments like that, it makes me leave the website. after reading well thought out statements and questions that really make me think; reading something like THAT destroys it all and destroys the hope i have for a completely civilized conversation.

    we are allowed to have our own opinions and disagree on issues… it’s what makes life interesting… but at least put a little thought into why you think this and make a valid statement… otherwise it’s a waste of our time!

    imo of course :)

  35. to milton 78: Because she can and has the full right to, it’s called free speach, it’s the same thing that gives you the right to come on a website and talk shit on people,

    and to #46, stop being a troll and go read a book or something

  36. 52: Actually, I’ve decided to have regular meetings with my fiance about how awkward it is to have sex with me. Last week, the powerpoint presentation said that awkwardness was down at least 90% from last quarter. I posted a memo about it, I can’t say if you got it of course, but the file’s on your desk if you’d care to look over the comparison of awkward levels now vs. four months ago.

    Uh, I know abortion is a serious topic. I don’t care if it’s awkward for my doctor, she isn’t my doctor so that she can lecture me like she’s some asshole on the internet, she’s my doctor so she can tell me if I’m okay or not. I broadcast my feelings so openly for the same reason everyone else does. I broadcast them on my chest, in much the same way you do on the internet. That’s how I feel and I shouldn’t have to be totally silent about all the time for fear of offending…you? Is that what I should be tip-toeing around for? Making sure you don’t feel awkward? Either way, I assume you and I will certainly not be sharing a bed any time soon, so I suppose it isn’t really a problem for you.

  37. Yikes – I’m pro-choice, but I’m not sure how I feel about this tattoo.

    Regardless, the shop this was done at is right next to my favorite coffee shop, so props for that… I have quite a few friends who have gotten work done there.

  38. I really, really dislike this tattoo.

    But, having read Stiggy’s posts, it’s obvious that this is a very meaningful tattoo and is important to her, and she’s thought it through and really believes in what it says, and she’s clearly pretty brave, and a strong person.

    So really, I’ve got to say: don’t like the tattoo, don’t like your stance on abortion, but, I support you fully in getting it, much respect, and I hope the last session(s) go well.

  39. I’d really like to see the finished version of this.

    I like the art, I am pro-choice, but I was a little confused by the “witness” label . . . I thought it was going to be more pro-life.

    I kind of like that ambiguity, though, because it allows people to immediately not be bigoted about it. It’s definitely something I’d look at, that’s for sure. As a concept interpretation on the sacred heart, it’s excellent. As a message and a statement, it’s strong. For a half-finished tattoo, it’s lovely. You defintely have balls of steel, and to that I say GO TEAM.

    I think you should name the fetus Wilbur. He looks like a Wilbur.

  40. #10-The only birth control method that is 100% effective is sterilization and obviously that is not an acceptable choice for people who want to have children in the future. Should married or other sexually active people who don’t want to have children yet abstain from sex so that they can avoid the potential of birth control failure?

    People really need to think a lot more before they proclaim that abortions are unnecessary because of birth control!

    Furthermore, sometimes abortions are necessary when the pregnancy risks the life of the mother or when the fetus is found to have a problem that will result in their death or extremely low quality of life at birth. There are many people who love their unborn children very much who nevertheless end up needing to abort them.
    One should not judge until they have been in such a situation themselves.

    P.S. Pro-Choice is not synonymous with pro-abortion! No one likes that abortions are necessary, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are necessary.

    You who are pro-life, are you also anti-war? I doubt it, and yet so many innocents die in war as well.

  41. “You who are pro-life, are you also anti-war? I doubt it”

    What a silly thing to say. Isn’t everyone anti-war?

  42. From the state of the world today, it seems to me that many (especially Mr. Bush) are indeed pro-war. Almost addicted to war in fact.

  43. Okay, Attinoss, well let me assure you, there are plenty of pro-lifers out there who are anti-war. I know many pro-lifers, and as far as I know I’ve never met anyone who is pro-war. Your comment was completely ridiculous.

  44. I love it. For a long time i wanted to go to med school so that I could be an abortionist. Sounds bad, but why make a woman suffer for what is basically a parasite?

    yes, you heard me, a fetus is a parasite.

    it could also be looked at as a tumor

  45. I respect that you have the guts to say what you feel and place it right on your chest. It takes major guts to do what you did and not care what others think. Whether or not I agree with the tattoo is irrelevant, I still give major props to you. With that being said, the art itself and the actual tattooing is beyond horrendous. I think you could have gotten your message across clearer with a better formed and designed tattoo and a different artist. Good luck to you with your future tattoos and as I said before major props on standing behind your views…

  46. This tattoo i think is definetally in poor taste. maybe its cause im pro life.. but either way.. just because the option IS available and is legal, doesnt mean that we should flaunt it…

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