The Color of Our Rights: A Reproductive Rights Collaboration

I will wear red
for my sisters whose health is at risk
for my sisters who have been raped
for my sisters who have been battered
for my sisters who are already struggling
to feed hungry children
for my sisters who need to finish
middle school
high school
grad school
for my sisters who are just not prepared

I will wear crimson
for their lifeblood
that will spill in back alleys
that will stain
wire hangers
knitting needles
other unsterilized implements
that become their only choice
in a country that questions
their ability
their very right
to decide

Christine E. Ray


I have been seeing colors of all hues in my mind lately.

I walk down my street and notice the full bloom of the flowers.

Yellow daffodils.

Pink sunsets.

The rain brought growth and vitality.

Green grass.

My stomach turns as I am pulled from my spring daydream. Clouds are forming. My colors change.

Red of the blood down her thighs

Silver of the hanger of old

Dark grey shadows

Peeled white paint on a dirty van

Purple bruises from unskilled hands

How quickly we forget what our warrior women went through. The fight has lost its color. Now all black and white. They can’t see in hues and block out truth.

I am a child in an orphanage. You scream my promise of a good home when I am unwanted. You tell me I will be saved by pro hands. I saw babies unwanted piled up like trash in a storage unit. Don’t tell me about choice being wrong. I am a choice no one made. A ball dropped that no one caught. I am witness to what happens when no one cares in person. Stand behind your pulpit and up on your goddamn soap box and tell a soldier that was in the trench of state child care what the options are. No one came for us. No one cuddled us on couches while they flipped through picture books with our faces in them. No one saved the smiles from the children as they slid off of their faces and hit the dirt. Many of my brothers and sisters in discard are dead now. Lost to a system you preach as an option. I watched the trash children we became. I brushed the hair of those lucky enough to be put up on the block as “New Mommy and New Daddy” walked the line. “Remember little one smile big and try to hide the sadness in your eyes. They will love you this time.” We would stand like puppies in the window and pray for salvation. Our prayers would go unanswered. People shop for children like they shop for cars. I had my tires kicked a million times only to be left on the lot. I have the bruises to show for it. Unwanted throw away children become dangerous adults, or pretty young corpses.

Cover yours eyes to the hues of color in this argument and the only colors we will see are those that run in the streets.

I didn’t know where to post this and now I am crying and pissed off and need to hand this to someone.

Jack Neece


Your body is obscene, cover it
Uncover it and give it to me
Or I’ll cry “Frigid!” “Dyke!”
You are responsible for my anger.
Look at what you did!
If only you had listened.
Then I would hate you, slut, for giving me
What I want.

– Erin L. King


False ownership
This is strangely annoying.
when you see arrogance in
someone who doesn’t own a thing
Can’t conjure a thing out of thin air
let alone a human being.
You are just the renter here. You don’t own shit.
you are born from this womb
which cradles your existence for months
a sliver away from called a being
Nothing but a pulsating existence in a foreign body
Sometimes the body treats it like an infection
to keep away the contamination
self-purging, an act of reclamation
Sometimes it accepts
cups its own palm
supports you, carries it to term
Its the body,
the arrangement
the unsaid understanding
a solemn promise
between the body and its identity
Your existence is slowly molded
like a ball of sagging clay on the potter wheel
morphed and molded
to be called a human being
You don’t own the womb.
You definitely don’t own our bodies.
You break the arrangement
just like to possess the things
Let me clear this
for the sake of your understanding
the body is not for your taking
There is a thin line between
The choices we make and your wanting.

Megha Sood 


She used to walk with a sparkle, gliding through the halls like the wind just blew her in. But what do you know about what it does to carry a reminder of the moment, of why your thighs scream at the sight of a man? To be ripped open, seed planted to bear his blighted fruit.

Her death was declared the moment you sold her womb to the devil. You man, with your flag drawn, throwing your words like they mean something. My body was not made to conquer!

Jamie Lynn Martin


her mama told her / your body is a temple girl / don’t defile it or give it away / she smoked and she drank to that / but when the boys mishandled her and something grew in her belly / she cried out loud / like a throttled nightingale / where is your justice? / the fires were lit / she anointed with shame / who better to be the brand bearer? / The rapists never knew her name / their child / their doing / sorry you can’t use that as an excuse / there are no reliefs for women who are abused / you should want to cradle your rapists child / here, give me the umbilical chord / let it sound in the dark / no succor here for survivors of incest and rape / lest men not control the uterus / oh lord heaven forbid / she burns with shame / they chant in unison / blood blood / we own your ovaries and private parts / the rape is divided / once and then again / when the law did not defend her / such is the pyre of women / born to defend their shame / inherited over generations / will it ever stop?

Candice Louisa Daquin


My knee jerk reaction is to start swinging blindly, hoping to connect with something old, red-faced, white, and male. As I raise my opened claws, exposing the softest flesh of my pink outstretched palms, I realize that this plays directly into the hands of the predator. I am not a predator, but I have spent my whole life sensing the shadows that pass o’er, discerning their threat levels, dodging them, knowing how they hunt, and how they think.

I am Mouse, master of disguises; now you see me, now you don’t.

I remember who I am and retreat to the safety of the thicket, just as the shadow swoops down, knowing they got me where they want me, and now they’re gonna eat me. I do not accept that I am on the menu today, Mr. Eagle; nor will I any other day. I will claw my way from your throat beast. Know that I will bite back until the beat has abandoned my chest and my body is made of sunshine and moonlight.

When Source asked would you rather be a Top Predator or Smart Prey, you chose your lot Mr. Eagle. You failed to remember that sustainability is not found in rumbling through jungles roaring fear me and eating everything in sight. You will be left starving. Left to rot, your ribcage will become our homes until they turn to fertile soil that makes way for generations to gather, feasting on your fallen kind’s sweet meats. We be small, but we be mighty.

Susan Conway

It was the white-hot sun, glaring down at me, pressing its warmth against the fresh, purple bruises I’d hidden beneath my clothes. It was the silvery-blue moonlight and occasional yellowed headlights that lit my room at night while I laid awake and waiting. It was the way his voice slid like black ice down my spine, the scent of cigarettes and beer on his breath, making the blood moving through my veins turn cold, freezing me from the inside out. That was the fear. That was the hatred. That was what awaited me. Every day, and every night. Where was justice then?

What about the countless other young girls experiencing the same fate? What of the ones forced to carry the children of their abusers? The ones that now have a government choosing for them how they use their bodies? What of the ones with no money, no assistance, and no means to survive on their own — newborn infant in their weary arms with crimson blood dripping down their legs? Where was the help when they starved or froze to death on the streets? What can we do when we have no rights over our own bodies no matter where we go?

Sarah Doughty


My heart is a rainbow of colors

Loves with no restraint

“Tame that sinful heart” they say, because it loves both women and men

“Your body is a temple” they say.

But what they really mean, is that it’s a church, white washed and filled with stories of how women began pain

My innocence was never hues of pastel, it was a currency to be exchanged for a worthy husband, who’d tame what my father couldn’t … So I gave it away

The red of my blood as it stained my school pants, was tangible proof that I now was another sinful woman that had to learn her place

The green of the grass I laid My head upon, left imprints on my summer clothes and instead of wondering what fields I graced with my dreams, you demanded to know why I laid in public with such lack of propriety

When My body bloomed suddenly, my clothes all became sins, and the hate from school teachers spewed over my young physique … Making stains of dark spit and vile on my white uniform

The shadows now darken so many neon souls, who simply want control of the vessel they inhabit, who refuse to bow to archaic laws

The inky black of evil, threatens to infect the world we are building for our future daughters and sons…

They spew their hate and condemn what they will never understand

But the sun will shine again

We will fight for it

Tooth and nail

You’ve taken enough

Your power will run its course

We refuse to go on living in the shadows of your consent

Let your flag fly

Let freedom ring

Jesica Nordase


Raised in a green, faraway land where
women lack power over our bodies,
All while stepping on fertile soils,
Left to be watered by the hand of an oppressor.
No voiced cries, no souls to heal anymore;
Just vacant shells left behind to pick up the pieces of what was once called a woman.
No resistance to stop the invasion either —
Just compliance to carry appointed commands.
A woman should always know her place in the world, His world. A Man’s world.
Makes it easier to endure.
Problem solved, right? So I thought.

As a teen, I witnessed so many injustices:
Sex, unprotected by foolish teenagers.
Rape, hushed just so a community never faced shame brought in without consent.
Victims blamed, the easiest outcome to digest.
The solution, girls forced to marry their rapist, only to restore honor to the family…
Problem solved, right? So I was told.

Eight dollars and fifty cents, the American dollar equivalent of a problem solved.
A pill handed to girls by desperate mothers in the family bathroom.
No doctor. No care. No precautions.
“Just go to sleep. It will go away overnight.”
That overnight hell comes and goes, leaving scars, with no elixir to kill the pain of a physical and emotional trauma
Of waking up in a puddle of her own crimson blood.
But that’s okay. It’s never talked about again. It’s over.
Problem solved, right? So I heard.

But now I’m here.
A red, white, and blue flag held high above my head, giving me a sense of protection.
Of ‘I am home.’
A humongous sign, “The land of the free,” brought tears to my eyes while walking through Customs.
“Welcome to the United States of America, Miss,”
he told me as he handed me the passport that carried so much pain I wanted to forget.
I was free. I am free.
My body is safe now.
I am my own woman.
Problem solved, right? So I hoped.

But where the hell am I?
Am I in a country where rights are protected,
Where voices are heard,
Where strength and free will is celebrated?
Or am I in a third-world country again?
I woke up confused that morning.
With two girls I needed to get ready for school.
Two girls I had been lying to, apparently.
Telling them they have rights.
That they’re strong.
That they are lucky they were born here and not overseas.
Problem solved, right? Or so I thought.

I woke up confused that morning.
Reading a law that condemns a rape victim to carry her abuser’s child.
Forcing women to resort to unsafe solutions, any means in order to take away a pain that they didn’t deserve.
I woke up confused that morning.
Wondering, why was a law, regarding a woman’s body, made by misogynistic Men?
Someone, please, wake me from this nightmare, calm my heart, and assure me that this is not a world my daughters are being raised in.
What’s the solution? I wonder.

Saide Harb-Ranero


My body will not be affected
By decisions of men in legislatures
I do not spill crimson every month.

My body will not be affected
By men carrying knives and ligatures
I cannot be raped.

My body will not be affected
By men who decide women need not study
I already have a college degree.

My body will not be affected
By men who declare I can’t work
My husband pays all the bills.

So they relaxed their bodies
In willful blindness.
They laughed at sisters
Who marched on the streets.

They joined the men in calling them whores.
And said their sons were worth more.
Then came laws that forced darkness
Faces forced behind cloaks of bleakness.

The marchers were murdered
The voices silenced.
Dance outlawed, music banned.
Writers fled, poets quietened.

Memories of the Taliban
Became realities again.
In lands that had assumed
Never again.

-Quatrina Hosain


More than Wage Inequality- Nightly News- a May week in 2019

“Missouri restricts abortion rights! Alabama has already made it illegal.”

“I choose life!”

No, you choose a ball of cells with no heartbeat-technically as alive as an amoeba, over a woman.

“A 19 yr old pregnant woman was murdered by 2, a mother and daughter. They opened her belly, cut out her unborn baby to raise as their own.”

Was she a container the prize was in to toss into a dumpster?

“US pregnancy rates are down! so low we can’t replace the population! The reason: most significant, the drop in teen pregnancy.”
Fewer humans would allow some of the one million species in the verge of extinction because of human depredation of the planet
a chance to

choose life.

In the midwest, fine American women hired an Ivy League-educated woman physician to remove the entire genitalia from a 6 yr old girl.
No anesthetic, grandmother, mother held the little girl down.

Sewn-shut breeding machines
in the name of one version of God.
Lawyers and legislators debate whether to call it “child abuse” or “freedom of religion”

to justify doing nothing.

Historically women underwent hysterectomies for everything from depression to
back pain to
a hang nail.
I ask you.
If a man complains of headaches, will you cut off his balls?

We march.
We are loud.
Yet the juggernaut blunders forward.
Back to a place where it’s encouraged to grab pussy because “they love it!”
Let me grab you by the balls.

“Le plus ça change, le plus que c’est la même chose.”

I am a woman of an age where society deems me invisible and irrelevant. My gray hairs, my wrinkled skin.
A woman friend messaged me recently, “at our age the light begins to dim.” Sure, talk yourself into it.

My light BLAZES because
I am just getting started so

Rachael Ikins


I don’t know what color to wear
For the child of rape forced to accept
Her mother’s rapist as Father
For that mother forced to put her daughter
Into the hands of her rapist
For the grieving mother mourning a miscarried child
And under investigation for possible homicide
For the child of incest
Life-long symbol of a family’s shame
For the doctor who must make a judgment call
On a woman’s life or a doomed fetus and
Facing 99 years if a court disagrees
No, I don’t know the right color to wear
Black of grief?
Rage red?
What color is fear?
Perhaps Gold for resolve that
These horrors must not come to pass

Robert Wertzler

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Brave & Reckless and commented:

    A powerful and chilling collaborative piece

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am deeply honored to have written with so many powerful voices.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am honored to be a part of this collaboration. Thank you for having my words alongside so many powerful voices.


  4. Reblogged this on Heartstring Eulogies and commented:
    “The blood moving through my veins turned cold, freezing me from the inside out. That was the fear. That was the hatred. That was what awaited me. Every day, and every night.”
    © Sarah Doughty

    See the full collaborative effort of writers on their responses to the recent legal battle on reproductive rights on Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen. It was an honor to be among these incredible voices.


  5. bobcabkings says:

    An honor to be included in such company.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bobcabkings says:

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    At Heretics, Lovers, And Madmen, The Color of Our Rights: A Collaboration

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jamie Lynn Martin says:

    This is amazing and truly an honor to be a part of. Thank you to everyone involved for sharing your voices.


  8. Jamie Lynn Martin says:

    Reblogged on My Beautifully Broken


  9. So honored to be part of this collaboration and featured among so many powerful voices.


  10. Reblogged this on Megha's World and commented:
    Come read the collaboration of various powerful voices on Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen in the light of attack on our reproductive rights.
    I’m so honored to be part of this.


  11. Kindra M. Austin says:

    Reblogged this on Kindra M. Austin.


  12. There is a vast amount of interesting material here. Thank you for the collection and for the posting 🙂


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