Funnily enough, the men who are most vocal about what women should and shouldn’t do with their bodies nearly always seem to know the least about how they work (and be the most uncomfortable about the fact they do anything other than look nice).
So one woman decided that if the men in charge were so worried about her body – specifically, whether or not she chose to reproduce – that she’d call their offices and let them know exactly what it was up to.
As cosmopolitan.com reports, Laura Shanley’s decision to start calling the office of Republican Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana and Donald Trump’s running mate, was sparked by his signing of a controversial bill in March limiting women’s access to abortions – including banning abortions based on disability and forcing women to listen to the heartbeat at least 18 hours before the procedure.
The law also opened up doctors to the possibility of being sued for wrongful death and criminalised tissue collection or transferral, which would have had a knock-on effect on life-saving research. Additionally, it would have made cremation or burial of foetal tissue mandatory, with women liable for the cost, whether from an abortion or a miscarriage.
Outraged, Shanley set up a Facebook page posting transcripts of her period calls, encouraging others to join her in letting Pence know via phone or Twitter the vagaries of their menstrual cycles “since he's so concerned”.
Women started approaching the governor in person at his meet-and-greets too, with one writing to Shanley to say she’d asked him how best to let him know when her period started:
“[I] announced to he and the crowd that I would be starting my period next week and asked how he would like me to let him know. He ignored me so I told him that I'd just call next week because I knew how concerned he was about my cycle.”
The page, called Periods for Pence, quickly garnered tens of thousands of likes and shares, and after the law was blocked by a preliminary injunction in June and Pence was later named Trump’s vice-president-in-waiting, Shanley focused the group on highlighting women’s issues and decided to reveal her identity via her Facebook page – having previously gone by the moniker Sue Magina.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan, she said they were now calling others and had renamed the page Periods for Politicians: “We wait to see who's in session, what law is pressing at the time. Next week, we're going to start calling Gov. Greg Abbott from Texas regarding their anti-choice law that's being passed. When I saw ‘we’ I mean the page as a collective.”
And of course, calls to Donald ‘No one has more respect for women than me’ Trump are a given:
On her decision to go public, she said it was important for women to get their voices heard: “The more I’ve heard Donald Trump and Mike Pence speak and reiterate their beliefs that women are second-class citizens, it’s just more important to me to speak out and to give women some encouragement to use their voices.”