'If My Vagina was a Gun' poet stirs up Texas conservatives at abortion hearing
Katie Heim has been to more than her share of women's rights rallies and she's learned a trick to get the attention of a key demographic in many legislative bodies, including the Texas state senate.
As she waited for six hours Monday afternoon to testify before the Texas state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, she wrote an attention-grabbing poem titled "If My Vagina was a Gun."
"I wanted to first appeal to their sense of personal liberty, which we feel strongly about here in Texas," Heim said today in a phone interview. "Second, the best way to make a conservative white man feel uncomfortable is to say the word 'vagina.' So I said it over and over again."
Her unusual testimony has grown in fame over the past two days and could become even more popular after the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill that would outlaw late-term abortions and strictly limit the number of clinics and doctors in the state that can perform abortions of any kind. It's been called one of the nation's strongest abortion-regulating proposals.
The full Senate will again consider the abortion legislation as early as next Monday if the committee approves it Thursday. It's already created huge waves nationally after some senators last month successfully filibustered the first attempt at the bill.
Heim, 36, lives in Austin, which is the Lone Star State capitol, where she owns a bookkeeping business. She said she expects to again join thousands of protesters of the bill who have descended on the Capitol building several times over the last two months.
She said she penned "If My Vagina was a Gun" in about 10 minutes after she realized it'd be better to break up the monotony of what became 14 hours of testimony in front of the committee.
"I have two kids. I don't plan on having anymore children. I'm sterile and a lesbian," Heim said. "So this isn't about me. I'm not trying to keep choice for me. It's for my daughters."
Here's the poem in full (and audio of Heim reading it at the hearing):
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,
no matter the body count or the children affected.
If my vagina was a gun, I could bypass security,
concealed carry laws would ensure I’d have impunity.
If my vagina was a gun, I wouldn’t have to beg you,
I could hunt this great land and do all the things men do.
But my vagina is not a gun, it is a mightier thing,
With a voice that rings true making lawmakers’ ears ring.
Vaginas are not delicate, they are muscular and magic,
So stop messing with mine, with legislation that’s tragic.
My vagina’s here to demand from the source,
Listen to the voices of thousands or feel their full force.