Michele Pred “Promote the General Welfare”

Michele Pred’s “Promote the General Welfare” is an art project that uses old or expired birth control pills in conjunction with vintage materials (hats, tiaras, purses) in order to express her “frustration over the continuing and growing impediments to fair, safe and affordable access to birth control and other women’s services in the United States” as well as responding to the negative attitudes that continue to surround birth control.


Christian L. Frock, a SF based art critic and curator had this to say about Pred’s work:

These pills – so small as to seem inconsequential, really – signify an enduring battle and Pred’s choice of demure, indeed ladylike, handbags reminds us of its timeline. The sculptures are representative too of a vast web of diverse personalities, each invested in the common goal of promoting dialogue around women’s rights – from the pills themselves, as discrete objects, to their use in an artwork. Whereas the original owners of these bags were limited in their ability to amplify their voices, people seeing them today are empowered to do so with free tools online. Though progress is frequently challenged, the stakeholders in women’s reproductive rights are increasingly networked. Michele Pred’s work signifies the challenges and the triumphs of women’s reproductive rights simultaneously, one tiny pill at a time. 

Given the seemingly constant controversy that surrounds birth control access in the United States (and given that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases surrounding religious corporations who want to opt out of the ACA’s birth control mandate), it’s like we’re back in the 1950s, before Griswold v. Connecticut and Eistenstadt v. Baird legalized birth control access, first for married couples, and then for all. Looks like we haven’t come a long way yet.

(And – you can contribute to the project! If you sent any unwanted/expired pills to the artists, you’ll get a signed print in return!)

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