Feminist Bill of Rights
In honor of the Fourth of July*, and because these days the 19th Amendment and the promise of the ERA are not enough, I present to you The Sin City Siren’s version of a Feminist Bill of Rights (loosely based on the actual Bill of Rights):
- If the First Amendment guarantees us the freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, and to petition our government, then surely the Feminist First Amendment guarantees the freedom to use those freedoms — especially in pursuit of equal pay, equal access to health care, the right to speak our minds about the role of religion in reproductive health care discussions, and to assemble and petition our government when necessary to ensure personal autonomy and freedom under the law.
- The Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms. This is a valuable right. And the Feminist Bill of Rights would add this interpretation: The right to keep and use (or not use) contraception.
- The Third Amendment holds the right to protection from quartering of troops — aka the military can’t take over your house. In the Feminist Bill of Rights: Protection from denying women in the military access to reproductive health care, protection from sexual assault, and equal pay for equal work.
- The Fourth Amendment is protection from unreasonable search and seizure. This is a no-brainer: Protection from unreasonable search of a woman’s body (hello trans-vaginal ultrasound laws) and seizure of a woman’s bodily autonomy (don’t seize my rights!).
- The Fifth Amendment is famous for the right to due process, prohibiting double jeopardy, the right to not incriminate yourself, and protections from eminent domain. The Feminist Bill of Rights? The right to a fair process in regards to health care (especially reproductive health care); protection from ineffective and/or incomplete sex education and the double-whammy of lack of access to contraceptives; the right to not be shamed by identifying yourself as a survivor of sexual violence, domestic violence, or from having an abortion. And eminent domain? That’s easy: Hands off my uterus!
- The Sixth Amendment is the right to a trial by jury, a speedy trial, and the right to counsel. In feminist terms: Equal representation in government (In other words, how about a woman in some of those Congressional hearings on women’s health care?); removing road-blocks to access to reproductive health care; and the right to access to unobstructed health care — like getting medical advice from your doctor without any invisible gag orders between us.
- The Seventh Amendment is the right to a civil trial by jury. In the Feminist Bill of Rights: How about the right to a civil discourse about women’s issues? Not a “War on Women.”
- The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail as well as cruel and unusual punishment. The feminist tweak: Prohibiting excessive requirements to access reproductive health care as well as prohibiting cruel (mandated waiting periods) and unusual (I’m going to hit up mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds that can trigger sexual assault victims, again, because it’s that bad) punishment for being sexually active and a woman (or LGBT, or a teenager, or…).
- The Ninth Amendment affords protection of rights not specifically enumerated by the Constitution. In other words, just because it’s not covered here, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t many more women’s rights that should be honored and upheld.
- The Tenth Amendment is about the rights of states and the people. In the Feminist Bill of Rights: The states should not try to take away the rights of women — who are people — by usurping the authority of federal laws and protections, such as Roe v. Wade.
*Editors note: For some reason this did not print on July 4th, as planned. Apologies for technical difficulties at SCS headquarters.