Bodily Autonomy, Liberty, and US Elections

Remarks from DA France Chair at the Women's March Paris Round Table Discussion on Bodily Autonomy:

I am very happy to be here today in support of Women’s March Paris. 

The concept of bodily autonomy is inseparable from the concept of human liberty itself — it is bodily autonomy and liberty which anchor US constitutional protections for a woman’s right to have an abortion, the fundamental human right for a woman to make plans about her own family, and her own body. 

These fundamental human rights are under assault in the US with the election of Trump, and the far right conservative agenda that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP have been pursuing. By stacking the Supreme Court, by stacking the lower courts, a woman’s right to choose, this fundamental human right anchored in a woman’s right to her own body, is under threat. 

These are not the only forms of bodily autonomy under assault — the bodies of immigrant families and children are under assault, the bodies of LGBTQ and especially transgender persons are under threat, the bodies and liberties of Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander persons, especially those of migrants and the poor, are under assault. Antisemitism is an assault on bodily autonomy and liberty. Anti-Muslim hate is an assault on bodily autonomy and liberty. Transgender military bodily autonomy is under assault, women in the military are more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, women veterans more likely to end up homeless than men. The rights, voices and bodies of the disabled are under assault. Climate change disproportionately affects the people of the global south and the developing world, and the bodily autonomy of future generations.

I stand here today to say that one of the most critical battles of our lifetimes is playing out this year in US elections.

It is imperative that Democrats and defenders of the Constitution and our very Republic win this year. It is imperative that the party that fights for a woman’s right to choose, for the human right to bodily autonomy and freedom, the Democratic Party, will win at the ballot box — not just President, but up and down the ballot. Senator, Representative, governor, attorney general, state and local races. Democrats and democracy will win if Americans show up to vote — and the overseas vote is making the difference. But we must make that case.

This election, every American everywhere must take action to help change the world. Vote.

Americans overseas can register to vote/request their 2020 ballots at They must do this every election year, so do it now.  VFA produces the correct federal form that must be sent in to US election officials. It is very easy with Vote from Abroad, you can even do it all from your smartphone.

Please spread the word among your US citizens friends —- this is the year we must all stand up and vote. To protect our bodily autonomy, to defend our human rights, now and for future generations.

Thank you.

Ada Shen, Chair of Democrats Abroad France

July 18, 2020