Reproductive rights may be serious business, but that doesn’t mean that activists can’t show a sense of humor when protesting the recent rash of laws aimed at restricting access to abortion. Here are five funny feminists that have successfully lampooned the system while advocating for a woman’s right to choose:
1. Waiting 72 Hours
When Missouri’s state representatives debated adding a 72-hour waiting period before women could have an abortion, student/social worker Dina Van Der Zalm used this same timeframe when testifying in front of the House. “Since this bill makes the assumption that women are not capable of making difficult decisions without the aid of politicians requiring an additional three days to think it through, then I can only assume that you’re not going to legitimately listen or value the opinions that I would like to state today,” she said.
Hilariously, Van Der Zalm told the House she was discontinuing her testimony and would return 72 hours later in the hopes that they would take her more seriously. Incidentally, she was still opposed to the legislation when she came back to finish the following Monday, but she definitely made a strong and humorous point against the idea that women cannot be trusted to make a choice.
2. The Dangers of Viagra
While Ohio considered a “heartbeat bill” forbidding women from having an abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be measured, State Senator Nina Turner thought, “We should show the same attention and love to men’s reproductive health as we do to women’s.”
Accordingly, she took a lot of the heartbeat bill’s own language to craft a similar bill regulating Viagra use. First, men would have to undergo counseling to confirm that that there was a reason for taking the medication before being allowed to get the prescription. Second, men would have to visit with doctors and hear a lecture about all of the possible dangers of a drug like Viagra.
To no one’s surprise, male politicians were nowhere near as eager to restrict men’s sexual health.
3. Sperm Is Sacred
Turner isn’t the only female politician to suggest legislation in jest. Outraged at her state’s abortion restrictions, Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson stepped forward. Noting that all reproductive laws are focused on women, Johnson decided to share the burden by writing a bill that declared all sperm “sacred.” Her proposed legislation read, “Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”
Surely, even Johnson wouldn’t want this bill to pass, but in putting it forward, she makes a comical point about how far Oklahoma’s “personhood” regulations have gone at the expense of women’s rights.
4. Returning Calls
Landlord Todd Stave found out the hard way that renting a building to an abortion clinic is a surefire way to be endlessly harassed by anti-choice activists. Though he supports their right to assemble and protest, Stave did not appreciate the regular threatening phone calls he and his family received at their home, so he decided to give the callers a taste of their own medicine.
Recording the names and numbers of the people who harassed him, Stave then gave this information to friends. Soon, he had about 1,000 people calling back the people pestering him. The main difference was that Stave’s callers never threatened or intimidated the anti-choicers, he just showed them how obnoxious it was to be inundated with unwanted phone calls.
The countermovement has spawned “Voice of Choice,” a network of 3,000 volunteers who are prepared to make calls for anyone who is harassed by abortion protesters. Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire.
5. Keeping Politicians Updated Monthly
After Virginia approved a mandatory ultrasound bill for women, activist Ramey Connelly couldn’t help but get snarky. She proceeded to write a Facebook message to each of the state politicians who voted for the legislation:
“Hi Senator [name]! I just wanted to let you know, since you’re concerned with women’s health, that my period started today! Color looks good, flow not too heavy. Cramps are pretty manageable but don’t worry – I’ll make sure to let you know if that changes! Thanks again for caring so much about women and our bodies!”
Connelly’s update inspired women in other states to make similar posts to legislators that have shown similar “concern” for women’s bodies by passing other restrictions. Perhaps some of these elected officials will realize that if women’s health makes them so uncomfortable, they shouldn’t be legislating it altogether.