Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) holds a press conference March 31, 2015 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Ind.
Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty

Why Indiana’s Mike Pence is receiving some unwelcome alerts

There’s been a fair amount of attention lately focused on Republican state lawmakers approving new anti-LGBT policies. But let’s not forget that some “red” states are going after reproductive rights at the same time.
 
As MSNBC’s Irin Carmon noted the other day, Florida has scrapped state aid to women’s health clinics; Arizona is moving forward with new abortion restrictions; and South Dakota’s governor “signed a ban on abortion at 19 weeks, with no exception for rape and incest.”
 
And then there’s Indiana, where GOP state policymakers approved a policy that’s already causing problems. The Washington Post reported in late March:
One day after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a controversial bill that would block women from seeking abortions based on medical diagnoses, doctors grappled with how the measure could impact their patients.
 
The mandate, which takes effect July 1, bans the procedure if, among other restrictions, a woman requests it “solely” because a fetus has Down syndrome or any other disorder. She could legally obtain an abortion in the event of a lethal fetal illness – but would have to inform the state that she chose to terminate her pregnancy.
 
A doctor, meanwhile, could face a wrongful death lawsuit if an abortion is granted to a woman who requests one after learning about a pregnancy complication.
Some women in the Hoosier State were so unimpressed with the governor’s new law that they rallied behind something called – I kid you not – “Periods for Pence.” WRTV in Indianapolis reported:
The governor’s office has received several calls this week from women describing the details of their period. 
 
“I need to get a message to the Governor that I am on day three of my period. My flow seems abnormally heavy, but my cramps are much better,” one woman called to say.
The woman who launched this initiative, who prefers to remain anonymous, told the station, “The more I read this bill, the more vague language I found and the more loopholes, and it just seemed incredibly intrusive. So I wanted to give a voice for women who really didn’t feel like they were given any kind of input into a bill that would affect our life so much.”
 
As BuzzFeed’s report added, because the law includes a reporting requirement, “some women on their periods may unknowingly expel a fertilized egg and thus have a miscarriage and be potentially liable if the egg is not correctly disposed of.”
 
And so, to the chagrin of the governor’s staff, plenty of Indiana women – and even some Indiana men – have been contacting Pence’s office, just to keep the administration apprised on menstrual developments.
 
I don’t imagine this will prompt any changes to state law, but as creative avenues for political activism go, “Periods for Pence” deserves credit for breaking new ground.
 
 

Abortion, Indiana, Mike Pence and Reproductive Rights

Why Indiana's Mike Pence is receiving some unwelcome alerts