Periods for Pence is a brand new group that got its start not long after Indiana governor Mike Pence signed a rather controversial anti-abortion bill that put all-new restrictions on agencies that carry out abortion procedures, as well as the mothers who seek them. On its face, the bill might not seem out of line with other anti-abortion legislation in the country. The state has put restrictions in place that don’t allow women to have an abortion if their fetuses have tested positive for disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome. It isn’t necessarily that part of the law that has Periods for Pence in such a state of outrage.
Want to make life better for people with disabilities? Focus on resources & rights, not bans on reproductive choice https://t.co/nNZaaIeFUO
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) March 25, 2016
Among the other things that Periods for Pence members truly find offensive is that the governor was willing to sign a bill that not only prohibits the ability to donate tissue from aborted fetuses but also jails any doctor who tries to go against that ban. The provision that appears to have the Periods for Pence advocates most up in arms is the fact that the bill also forces a woman who has an abortion to cover the costs for burial and funeral service of the fetus. Not only is this particular part of the bill, one most states won’t touch because of the invasion of privacy issues it raises, but it’s also one that appears to be aimed at causing pain to the woman after she’s already gone through a rather traumatic experience.
The Periods for Pence activists started a Facebook page not long after the bill was officially made state law, thanks to the Governor’s signature. Since the group went live, it has been holding itself up as a group with the mission to make sure the Governor’s office is, at the very least, quite annoyed the law is in place. While the Facebook group is one that is made to take a more comical approach to protesting, the group is made up of people who are clearly annoyed such a bill has become law.
The Periods for Pence activists are planning how they are going to let the Governor Pence’s office know they are staunchly opposed to his policies, but there are also plenty of messages posted on the group’s home page that allows their members to share the funny encounters they have had with staff when they called in, in opposition to the bill. Reverb Press posted one particular conversation between a group member and the governor’s staff, wherein the Periods for Pence member left an obviously fake name as an extra step in the protest.
Me: “Good morning. I just wanted to call and let the good Governor know that I am still not pregnant, since he seems to be so worried about women’s reproductive rights.”
Irritated lady on the other end of the phone: “And can I get your name, please?”
Me: “Sure, it’s Not Pregnant Laura.”
While there have been some in the group who have wanted to go a bit further than simply calling the office and lodging their complaints, the group’s administrators have been quite good about making sure no one is crossing the line. It’s not clear just what this kind of activism Periods for Pence is engaging in that can really achieve results at this point. The bill has already become law thanks to the governor’s signature. Perhaps grassroots movements like Periods for Pence will, at the very least, let the next state government that attempts to pass severe forms of anti-abortion bills just what they will be in for. Indiana’s Governor has also been known to bow down to certain forms of political pressure; it’s possible Periods for Pence hopes their messages will lead to repeal of the law.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]