My body on the ballot… again.

Lina AbiRafeh
4 min readApr 21, 2024


Photo taken by the author at one of the many marches for the obvious right to decide about our bodies and our lives.

And here we are once again. The rights to our own bodies are on the line.

I’ve written about abortion access in the United States before here, here, and here. And just about everywhere. And maybe one day I’ll write something positive. Unfortunately, today is not that day.

Women’s rights are not a light switch, to be flicked on or off based on the whims of those (men) in power. But the light has been flicked off for women in Arizona. Their bodies have become battlegrounds.

Let’s recap. The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, and since then, women have been losing ground in too many states across the country. Arizona is the latest — and the greatest — loss.

On April 9, 2024, the state’s Supreme Court announced that women and healthcare providers must abide by an archaic 160 year-old near-total abortion ban that was put in place before Arizona officially became the 48th American state in 1912. With no exceptions for rape or incest, the current law states that abortion can only be performed when a pregnant woman’s life is deemed “at risk.” This makes Arizona one of the strictest states regarding women’s bodily autonomy.

While Arizona’s new/old law will technically allow prosecutors to charge doctors and healthcare providers who perform abortions, Governor Katie Hobbs issued an executive order saying that her office will not prosecute such cases. However, medical professionals across the state are now left in limbo with many worrying their medical licenses will get revoked anyway.

Unsurprisingly, many women are worried they may end up like Lizelle Gonzalez of Texas. Shortly after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Gonzalez was arrested and charged with murder over performing a self-induced abortion. Eventually Gonzalez was exonerated, but she did spend two nights in jail. Abortion is already stressful and traumatic enough — no one should be jailed for exercising their right to bodily autonomy.

Yet, it’s not just Arizona and Texas. Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, conservative states have pushed to ban abortion as fast as humanly possible. Abortion is now banned, to at least some degree, in 20 states and three American-occupied territories. Fourteen states have near total bans on abortion, with Georgia and South Carolina banning anything after six weeks of pregnancy. For context, many women find out well after the six week period that they are even pregnant. Combine that with comically-irrelevant “abstinence only” sex education and the fact that periods can sometimes be unpredictable, a six-week ban is akin to a total abortion ban.

The latest data show that medically-induced abortions now account for more than half of all abortions performed in the United States — around 53%. The legal right to perform this is currently being debated.

Let’s review some of the guiding principles that underlie this conversation.

  1. Women’s bodies are not public property. This is a personal medical decision to be made by the woman herself — just like any other medical decision.
  2. We do not know the background of a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy — and we don’t need to know.
  3. Banning abortion only bans SAFE abortions.
  4. If this was about controlling men’s reproductive freedom, we would not be having this “debate.”
  5. You know someone who has had an abortion.

According to the Center for Reproductive Justice, just over one-third (34%) of women across every continent have access to safe abortion upon request. The United States does not fall within this category.

Now we come to our reality check. The United States is NOT the bastion of human rights — or of women’s rights — that we’ve been led to believe. It may consider itself as such, but right now that looks like false advertising to me.

Will abortion be on the ballot? I was asked in a recent TV interview.

Democrats will try to keep voters focused on abortion rather than on Palestine in order to consolidate and retain votes. We’re already seeing these arguments come to light in the “Vote Blue No Matter Who” and “Lesser of Two Evils” arguments. In an eerily dystopian video, Biden supporters are seen chanting “Four more years!” after an event was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. Blue-washed MAGA, perhaps?

This election, President Biden’s track record (and mental capacities, quite frankly) are in question. He has claimed time and again to be a supporter of women’s rights — but his human rights track record is weak and many of his gender equality goals remain unmet. Specifically, people are critical of President Biden regarding his unwavering support for Israel in the face of Gaza’s genocide. In short, Biden’s unrestricted funding has resulted in the murder of over 35,000 Palestinians, over 70% of which are women and children. Human rights? Women’s rights?! I think not.

The upcoming election ballot holds no appeal for me. I will NOT choose between an old white misogynist and an old white war criminal. This isn’t a choice.

And perhaps Palestine has cost Biden the election? The “Uncommitted Movement” has now raised over a half a million dollars with hundreds of thousands of Democratic primary voters refusing to cast a vote for “Genocide Joe.”

But I’m stuck. Surely there are others like me!? I believe in voting — and in exercising my right to do so. And yet, is there a viable option?! Is there one candidate who might emerge from the ashes of this dumpster fire?

Will I be able to vote for someone I believe in — someone who will preserve my rights to my own body AND stop the continued slaughter of my people?



Lina AbiRafeh

Global women's rights activist, author, speaker, aid worker with 3 decades of global experience - and lots to say! More on my website: