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Four Vermont artists share their reactions to recent overturning of Roe v. Wade

 An artist's sketch depicts a coat hanger with various shapes dangling from it. The shapes are in the form of states which have laws banning abortion and certain reproductive care.
Pamela Fogg, Courtesy
Vermont artists were some of the first to respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24. Landscape artist Pamela Fogg posted this image to her Instagram account soon after, titled, "A Mobile for an Unwanted Child."

Though abortion has been legal in Vermont since 1972, many local artists were the first to react to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, which ended legal abortion in many other states in the country.

Recently, four Vermont-based performers and artists talked about their reactions to the stripping away of certain reproductive care. They also shared what they created in the wake of that ruling.

Jennifer Kahn

Jennifer Kahn is a jewelry designer with a showroom on Pine Street in Burlington.

My name is Jennifer Kahn. I've been a jewelry artist for a little over 20 years. I think this was just my way of coping. And I wasn't sure what I was going to make, but then I figured the Venus symbol. I would make that. I would stamp, "My body, my choice."

A necklace on a chain with a silver crescent moon pendant and the words, "My body, my choice" stamped on them.
Jennifer Kahn, Courtesy
Jennifer Kahn created jewelry pieces in the shape of the Venus symbol, shown in the video below. Kahn also created these nonbinary moon pendants as a reaction to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.

I rolled out precious metal clay. Once it was dry and refined, I used a blowtorch to channel my rage and set it aflame, but watch it actually grow stronger in the flame.

"I used a blowtorch to channel my rage and set it aflame."
Jennifer Kahn, jewelry artist from Burlington

I'm so happy to be able to raise money through the sale of my work. It's just a way for me to give back, for me to feel like I'm doing meaningful work. And also just to prevent me from spiraling out.

Pamela Fogg

Pamela Fogg is a landscape painter in Bristol.

I'm Pamela Fogg. I'm an artist, basically a landscape painter. I think it was just a tsunami of feelings that week. I couldn't believe that this was happening in this time. We just went so far back.

The drawing of a coat hanger with shapes of various states that have enacted really draconian abortion laws, it's called "Mobile for an Unwanted Child."

"You know, as artists, we just feel everything. And it's challenging to just see our country going in this direction."
Pamela Fogg, artist from Bristol

The coat hanger was a lot of women's desperate attempt to end their pregnancies with really dire effects. That, to me sort of stuck as such a graphic symbol of this sort of backwards development.

You know, as artists, we just feel everything. And it's challenging to just see our country going in this direction. You know, I'm also thinking about elections and sort of how to maybe leave Vermont for a period of time and go help. I think that that's also going to be really important.

Grimm Noir

Grimm Noir is a graphic artist, dancer and emcee in Burlington.

Two people perform onstage in a blue-lit space.
Luke Awtry, Courtesy
Graphic artist and performer Grimm Noir recently took part as an emcee and dancer in Seven Veils, "Ungoverned," a pole and dance performance at ArtsRiot in Burlington. The event raised funds for reproductive and abortion care.

I'm Grimm Noir. I am a visual artist and burlesque performer. I'm the artist behind Hi, Ho Silverworks. I am also Black, chronically ill, queer and neurodivergent.

When it comes to Roe v. Wade being overturned, I am disappointed but not surprised. Through luck and privilege, I get to make art that connects people, helps people feel seen, heard, understood. And also amplify voices and connect community members so that we can make change.

An event poster showing the silhouettes of three females forms dancing and the event title, "Ungoverned."
Hi Ho Silverworks, Grimm Noir, Courtesy
Graphic artist Grimm Noir created posters for a Seven Veils pole and dance event called "Ungoverned." The event raised funds for reproductive health.

I got involved with "Ungoverned" with Seven Veils. They slid into my DMs and they're like, "Hey, I know you do graphic design. Can you design us a poster?" And I was like, "Yeah!" And they're like, "Hey, we also know that you're a dancer, can you dance?" And I was like, "Yeah!" And then they were like, "Hey, we also know you're an emcee, can you emcee for me?" And I was like, "Yeah!" And so I did that, with the Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom, also known on Instagram as VTAbortion.

The United States has a long history of disregarding people's bodily autonomy for their own gain. I believe in reproductive rights. And I believe in creating communities where people can be safe and in charge of their bodily autonomy.

Moving forward, yes, I'm tired. But I'm also tired of fighting fights that we've been fighting for hundreds of years. I will continue to do so. I will continue to support my community.

Because you can take back your neighborhood. You can connect people. You can raise local funds, and you can vote and track the voting records of those who are in power to make sure that you create the safe community that you want. And that's how you implement long-lasting change in your country.

Sarah King

Sarah King is a singer/songwriter in Ripton.

Hey, y'all, I'm Sarah King. As a young woman in Georgia, I benefited from the health care and access to health care that I had, especially reproductive health care.

I had some pretty major health issues going on. And if I had not had access to the care that I had, I wouldn't be alive today.

So although the ruling doesn't affect me now, my heart breaks for all of the people that this does affect.

My stripped version of my song, "Poison," — after the overturning of Roe vs. Wade — there is a particular line in the song that has stood out to me for the last few days, while I've been alternating between outrage and crying.

So there's a line that says, "You got a passionate case, but I don't care what you say. You're not the only one acting like this every day."

Sarah King's, "Poison, (Stripped)," the single version from the album, "The Hour."

And that line was inspired by Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, during which time he was pleading and trying to convince everyone with his tears what a good guy he is, and why he belonged on the Supreme Court.

People that I looked up to, including Sen. Susan Collins, believed that he was going to leave Roe v. Wade and the protections that offered in place, and obviously that didn't happen.

Vermont Public's Marlon Hyde helped with this reporting.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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