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Words of Choice: Up the Creativity
A site for pro-choice arts & ideas!
Feb 11, pharm 2008

Art & Choice & the Power of Words by Jodi Leib, guest blogger

Jodi Leib is an artist, writer and filmmaker whose investigations into reproductive rights brought her to a new level of activism: seeking a constitutional amendment. Here, she describes how the concepts for a screenplay and a constitutional amendment merged.

When I think of Words of Choice, I automatically feel empowered to speak about my inner truth, that as a woman, I own my words and my life. When I choose what to say, I am responsible. I am conscious. I decide according to my own set of beliefs, from my history and how I see the future. When I speak, my words flow through the universe, on target to wherever they are directed to land by my intention. This is the power of language. This is the power of manifestation, of creating a world we want to live in through our dialogue, through our integrity.

I am an artist and filmmaker. I must tell my stories so that you will understand them, so I use the media and creativity to tell stories of people who you can relate to and see yourselves through.

So, when I think of my words and how I can choose them wisely and poignantly to create a world I want to live in, I envision developing programs to support women and children, and men and families. I am pro-choice. I am also in support of life when women’s lives are not in danger and when children can grow up healthy, protected and loved.

A Solution in Words of Freedom

I think of our freedoms and how words in the United States Constitution are tried and tested and relied upon to uphold our nation’s values. I think of ways to understand the questions and find solutions to this reproductive war we face both in the courts and on the streets. A war waged against women, against the medical institution and against children ultimately.

The solution I have for this war is made of words. It is a compassionate solution. It is a solution that puts women and children first.

The solution is the Freedom of Reproductive Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. This right ensures all Americans have access to healthcare, sexual education, medical research and family planning. It sounds like we have these rights already, but if or when Roe v. Wade is overturned, we won’t.

The reason we need a federal amendment is so that we never have to argue about this issue again.

I developed the concept for a Reproductive Rights Amendment after I covered the March for Women’s Lives reproductive health rally on Washington in April 2004 as a journalist for Talk It Out! I was so inspired by the energy of all these women coming together to voice their support – Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Julianne Moore, Janeane Garofalo, Whoopie Goldberg and so many more impassioned women.

Marching Forward and a Movie

I was also in the midst of a rewrite for my feature film screenplay, Monday’s Child, about the reproductive health debate in Washington. I took all that knowledge gained and processed it through my creativity into the stories within the film. So, the film became about a group of women fighting for their reproductive rights and how they come together – but now in the film they would come together for higher stakes…a reproductive health amendment.

I also realized that I could actually do this in real life – that I actually must do this in real life. What is the purpose of the film if not to create real change and make sure women’s bodies are never a battleground for politics again? What better way to do this than to actually implement this idea. I decided to initiate a campaign for such a Reproductive Rights Amendment.

Now, I know that creating a movement to pass a constitutional amendment may sound lofty at first and even impossible…but the other side is doing it and they do not take “no” for an answer. My vision is to see women free and living in harmony with themselves…their full selves.

Art and Life and Choice

The question of whether life imitates art or art imitates life is certainly relevant here. In my case, my art is my life and I see very little difference between the two. In fact, my characters pressure me, telling me I must get this film to the screen soon.

I also am personally sick of this reproductive war. I am sick of a war that places women’s bodies as the battleground for politics, a no-mans-land where war games and persuasion have real-world consequences for millions of people, threatening their lives with danger.

Free will is not a new argument. Choice is free will. Some believe we should have it and some don’t. Changing the fundamental compositions of people who don’t believe they have free will or aren’t entitled to it is impossible. You can’t even try. But you can say they can’t fight this battle on women’s bodies. You can say: Go somewhere else! Not on my land, not in my womb.

The right to reproductive freedom is about equality and opportunity for women and men. Only women are forced into motherhood. Men can simply walk away and they would if they wanted. This fundamental biological difference between the sexes must be represented within the law for all people to be “created equal” and included in the great The Declaration of Independence.

Words, Vision, Action, Solution

For me, words create the vision, which creates action, which creates the solution. To me, until our nation accepts that the only way to have a society full of loving parents and healthy children is to stop putting women on the front lines of politics, and to pass the Freedom of Reproductive Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Freedom from oppression and dictatorship is why we the people formed the United States of America. Yes, we are a Puritan nation. And we are also a Jewish nation, a Catholic nation, a Muslim nation, a Christian nation, a Wicken nation, a Spiritual nation, a Native-American nation, a Hopeful nation. We are not just one thing. We are a collective. Until we rise as one collective voice of one collective nation in support of ourselves and each other, we may just find ourselves without a voice. Without a sound. In silence without representation.

Today more than ever, we must use words of choice and raise our voices together to protect our freedoms and save our lives. Choice is essential to our well-being and the well-being of our loved ones.

by Jodi Leib

Read more at: www.jodileib.com
Pictured above: Jodi Leib, Photo by Glenn Koetzner; with permission.


— posted on 2/27/2014

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