Freedom is Common Sense: Why I’m A Tennessee Student Voting No On 1

ETSU students phone banking for the No On 1 Campaign!
By Carmen Rios

This post is the transcript of a speech Hannah delivered at a recent event on Amendment 1.

In November, Tennesseans will be voting on whether or not to amend the Tennessee constitution. If Amendment 1 passes, it would give politicians unlimited authority to ban or restrict abortion without consideration for cases of rape, incest, or instances where life of the woman is at risk. Many people are arguing that this amendment is “common sense.” In response to that, let me share with you what happened this weekend as we were volunteering for the Vote No On 1 campaign.

ETSU students phone banking for the No On 1 Campaign!
ETSU students phone banking for the No On 1 Campaign!

One of our members spoke with an elderly man who shared with her that many years ago his sister died due to complications from an illegal abortion, and he stated he would be voting no to keep it legal. Banning or restricting abortion puts the life and health of women at risk. This is common sense. Therefore, the common sense thing to do would be to vote no on this amendment.

Beyond common sense, this is about keeping politicians out of our personal lives, out of our private lives, and out of our medical decisions. This kind of decision should be left up to women, their families, and their faith and should not be left in the hands of politicians. I’m speaking to you today, not because I believe this is a certain political party’s issue, but because I believe this is a human issue.

All people should have the right to bodily autonomy. Now, bodily autonomy means that a person has control over who and over what uses their body, for what purpose, and for how long. This is why you can’t be forced to donate blood or have sex with someone. Even in death, you have bodily autonomy, which is why, even though it would save lives, your organs and tissues could not be given to someone else unless you consented to it prior to your death.

This amendment would open the doors to take away a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and would be placing that right in the hands of politicians. In other words, a dead person would have more bodily autonomy than a living, breathing woman.

Let’s preserve our right to bodily autonomy by keeping politicians out of our private and personal lives and by keeping these procedures safe and legal.

How do we do that? By voting.

Some of you may be thinking right now, “Why? It’s 2014 and we’re still talking about the same issues my grandparents talked about 50 years ago. What’s the point. Where’s the hope?”

I’ll tell you where it is: it’s in you, and in you, and in you, and in everyone here today.

We are the hope. We are the change. We are the future.


I’m here speaking to you right now, today, because I believe that we have a voice. A voice that needs to be heard. A voice of transformation. A voice that will make a difference.

Let’s be sure that our voices are heard all the way in Nashville this November telling our politicians to keep out of our private lives by voting NO on 1.

By Carmen Rios

Carmen splits her time disparately between feminist rabble-rousing, writing, public speaking, and flower-picking. She is currently Communications Coordinator at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Straddleverse and Feminism Editor at Autostraddle, and a writer with FORCE. Carmen is a SPARK alum and former Managing Editor of THE LINE Campaign blog. She's part of an oncoming anthology about girls' activism.


  1. I enjoyed reading this because it was so understandable & relatable. I feel now that I know exactly what’s going on & what needs to be done so I will definitely be voting No on 1!!! I also enjoyed the fact that this article was written by another ETSU student. 🙂 I graduated from their this past May & currently live in Nashville.

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