Trying to Find Words


I am trying to find words for what will likely be the last thing I write about Initiated Measure 11 before the election.  I am trying to find a way to express how it is to be a working woman, a working mother, and feel as though a bunch of complete strangers want to take control of my body and may actually have a chance of doing so.

The body I work for, and in, every day.  The body I use to create a home and earn an income that supports me and my child.  My body.

Thinking about this measure becoming law makes me feel insignificant: like if it passed, it really wouldn’t matter what I achieved any more: who I teach or what I publish or how much I grow.  It wouldn’t matter because the people of the state in which I live and work would have decided that as a woman, my right to self-determination and self-possession is limited by the fact that I have a uterus.

How can I, as a woman under this law, create and work and live and consider myself the equal of the men in my field when I walk in a room?  Can men even know what it is like to have your fertility used as a threat against your personhood, your self-determination, your ability to make a living?

Of course, if it does pass, the world will go on.  I will continue to teach and farm and walk in that room with the guys and ask what price they’re getting for their potatoes and whether they managed to unload those 250 lbs. of tomatoes.

The wider question of Initiated Measure 11 is not just about babies.  The question is whether women are persons in their own right, with their own lives and motivations and needs, and with their own bodies that they are in full possession of.

The question is whether or not we should “allow” women life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–or whether we should circumscribe what should constitute their lives, the extent of their liberties, and what ought to make them happy.

Somehow, it is still hard for me to believe that this question is being asked.  I want to ignore it–not even to dignify it with a response.

But this is an election, and my response as well as yours will shape women’s lives and the level of respect and consideration they receive in this state regardless of how very much they’ve earned.

Please demonstrate your respect by voting “No” on Initiated Measure 11.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Claire on October 27, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    For me, this ban goes so much deeper than just my choices as a woman or people’s perceptions that I’m somehow incapable of taking responsibility for psychological/spiritual ramifications, that I’m somehow less able to think than a man. It is obviously all those things, as well as interferring in medical decisions that are so varied a law could never really cover them all. More than all of that for me, this law is simply anti-science and EXTREMELY dangerous. This law is asking people to vote on whether something is a “scientific and biological fact”. That is the first numbered paragraph of this law and it is first for a reason. More than an abortion ban, this is an assault on science. Scientific facts should NEVER be determined by popular vote or the inevitable lawsuits filed thereafter. Have we lost our minds? The effectiveness of penicillin is not decided by a vote of the people. The earth is not round because we voted that it is so. How in the world are people supposed to vote on when a human being has become separate, unique and HUMAN as a scientific and biological fact?

    This law is so dangerous beyond an abortion ban. I’m completely horrified that there is a segment of our population that believes it is proper to vote on what is or is not a scientific fact. I’m glad it’s a small segment, but I’m a little distressed that they were smart enough to put it in an abortion ban so people would simply vote based on their feelings about abortion, not based on their feelings about the scientific method and all it has done for us.

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