Poetry isn’t often used as protest in the United States – certainly not as it was in the Soviet Union, where poets were treated as enemies of the state by Stalin, or in China, where dissident poets who stray from Beijing’s party line can find themselves behind bars.
But then there’s the case of Katie Heim, the woman who performed a poem called “If My Vagina Was a Gun” in protest of Texas’s proposed new abortion restrictions.
The poem was read on Monday afternoon as part of the testimony in front of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, which was having hearings on the Republican bill, which “seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, the point at which some claim fetuses begin to feel pain,” according to CNN.
Heim’s poem reads as follows:
If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights,
You would ride on buses and fight all the fights.
If my vagina was a gun, you would treat it with care,
You wouldn’t spill all its secrets because, well, why go there.
If my vagina was a gun, you’d say what it holds is private
From cold dead hands we could pry, you surely would riot.
If my vagina was a gun, its rights would all be protected,