I saw that on NY Times today:

"A “bans off our bodies” protest at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on wednesday."

I'm confused about what “bans off our bodies” means. I googled about ban off as phrasal verb and could not find any thing. The idea of what it is that comes to mind is to keep the bans off their boddies like go ban somewhere else, is that so?

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    The only reason for such peculiar phrasing is that it's "punning" off the standard protest banner wording Hands off [whatever the protesters want not to be subject to State legislation]. Which is an imperative addressed to You, the representatives of the State keep your hands/bans away from the current status quo. So don't worry too much about the "meaning" - it's essentially just wordplay. Sep 2, 2021 at 11:50

2 Answers 2


The phrase is written in a kind of headlinese, so it is hard to parse, but your second interpretation is correct. Bans is a noun, and the protesters want the bans "off our bodies". You could think of it as

(We want) bans off (of) our bodies


Bans, (get) off our bodies!

It's similar in style to signs saying "hands off our (whatever)":

enter image description here


The "bans off our bodies" protests, if you read the article, are primarily against anti-abortion laws.

Those involved in the protest clearly feel that laws prohibiting abortion are a 'ban' on what they want to do with their own bodies. So "bans off our bodies" is an imperative statement (common in slogans) demanding that the bans be taken off their bodies.

It is common in extremely polarised debates such as this for either side to 'reframe' the opposition's stance, so it isn't surprising that you found it hard to connect the slogan with what they are actually campaigning against.

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