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I plan to vote for Proposal 3, even though some of the messages being put out on social media are deeply problematic

October 10, 2022

I plan to vote for Proposal 3 in November, not only because I support bodily autonomy and access to abortion, but also because I like being able to vote directly for policies I support. 

Ballot Initiatives allow people to engage in what many call direct democracy, since voting on a ballot initiative bypasses the dysfunctional realities of representative democracy.

Problematic Messaging

Some of the memes and other brief posts about either Proposal 3 in Michigan or other more general posts about the loss of Roe v Wade and abortion rights have been problematic to say the least. For example, the meme here on the right, with the text that says, “Hell Hath No Fury Like 167 Million Scorned Women Heading to the Polls.”

While I get the sentiment behind the meme, it is problematic in numerous ways. First, meme says there are 167 million women in the United States, which is a bit misleading. It is true that based on the 2022 US Census, there are just over 332 million people in the US, so 167 million is roughly half. However, this is a census of all people, not of all adult women who are of voting age. 

In 2020, the eligible voting population in the US was 257,605,088, with roughly 128 million women eligible to vote. Thus, the 167 Million scorned women number if just not accurate. In fact, it is nearly 40 million off. 

Second, the meme makes the assumption that all eligible women will vote for abortion access, meaning that all 128 million women of voting age will vote for candidates that support reproductive justice, or as in the case of Michigan, will vote for Proposal 3. Such a notion is not rooted in historical fact. If we look at what percentage of women voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, and Trump was clearly in the anti-abortion camp, then why did 44% of women vote for Trump?

Third, if we look at the racial component when talking about women scorned, then we have to come to terms with the fact that in 2020, 55% of White women voted for Trump. Let’s say that again, 55% of White women voted for Trump.

Another component of this dynamic is that BIPOC women have not been the face the renewed reproductive justice movement, at least not when it comes to how it is being reported on and how mainstream women’s groups and Democrats have been presenting the whole Roevember election. This is problematic, especially since we know that regressive and repressive abortion laws overwhelmingly impact BIPOC cisgendered women, along with some non-binary people, some intersex people, some Two Spirit people, and some trans men. However, this kind of language hasn’t been normalized within the mainstream women’s organizations nor the Democratic Party when it comes to talking about abortion rights.

If we are going to have these sorts of conversations, it is critical that the information, the talking points, etc, about abortion rights/access, is not only accurate, but that it is inclusive. We also need to come to terms with the fact that a high number of White women are voting against abortion rights/access. In fact, this last point should be an issue that we seriously grabble with, before we create campaigns, talking points and memes about abortion rights/access, especially with the upcoming election in November.

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