Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Periods for Pence
I was originally going to write this post about the truly terrifying new abortion law enacted in Indiana which is now being challenged by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. However, while looking into this topic I came across a truly unique reaction Indiana women are having to this law and to Indiana's Governor Mike Pence.
After Pence signed this anti-abortion legislation (which bans abortions sought on the basis of race, sex, or potential disability of the fetus and requires the cremation or burial of fetal remains whether they are from a miscarriage or an abortion) many of Indiana's women took this to mean that Pence cared deeply about what was happening with their vaginas and uteruses. Therefore, they decided to "keep him in the loop" by routinely tell him about their periods.
Indiana's women have been calling and emailing the governor's office to keep him up to date on their menstrual cycles. Many have been so kind and thoughtful to include what day of their period they are on, their level of flow and the cramps they are experiencing, thus providing Pence with a full and accurate picture of their reproductive organs. This campaign has been titled "Periods for Pence," which even has its very own Facebook page and Twitter.
Most of the time when you hear about protests surrounding the very contentious issue of abortion you picture two groups of people standing outside of government buildings or abortion clinics and yelling at each other. Indeed, such traditional protests have been happening in response to the passage of this law. I always wonder if these types of protests have any affect given that those who are involved are often on the extreme opposite sides of the topic and therefore are very unlikely to budge on their views. It also seems unlikely to me that legislators minds will be changed by such protests as I have found that very rarely are people receptive to what you are saying when you are yelling at them and telling them they are going to Hell.
However, "Periods for Pence" brings a small amount of levity to a terrible situation for many women while simultaneously drawing attention to the shear absurdity of how invested in women's uteruses and reproductive capabilities male legislators tend to be (and yet I am also guessing that these same men are "grossed out" by a woman's period). By framing the issue of reproductive rights in such a concrete, yet entertaining way, I think that "Periods for Pence" may be able to get across the craziness that is reproductive rights restrictions to a group that is normally deaf to such arguments.
I also think that this protest allows women who are upset at the new law, but who are either unable or unwilling to traditionally protest, to show their displeasure with the law and with the politicians who passed it. Indeed, while I respect the individuals who are so invested in their beliefs that they will go out and yell and hold signs for hours in an attempt to do what they believe is right, that is not the type of protest I would want to be involved in. Not because I do not support them (well at least the pro-choice side) but because I have never been an outgoing individual, so the "Periods for Pence" movement is much more my speed.
A woman's manner of protest though should be just as individual as her health and reproductive care, so I wish the women of Indiana the best of luck however they choose to protest!