Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Do You Trust Women?

January 23rd, 2012 by Chris Bobel

Do you see the connections between menstrual health awareness and reproductive justice?

At re: Cycling, we sure do, because being critical of how menstruation is regarded (and managed)—from menarche forward—is one way we loosen the social control of women’s bodies.

My body, my choice, my whole life long.

And that’s exactly what reproductive justice is about—fighting for everyone’s access to affordable, quality reproductive health care of their choosing. That’s a fight to get behind, not the stupid “War on Women” advanced by certain presidential hopefuls (Hello Rick Santorum).

We are excited about this creative campaign organized by The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, a coalition of 42 national and local organizations (the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR), Catholics for Choice, NARAL-ProChoice California, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, and SisterSong/Trust Black Women.

The campaign takes aim at “extremist politicians elected with a mandate to fix the current economic crisis instead chose to divert the public’s attention with policy battles about these private decisions.”

So why are our legislators and presidential candidates hell-bent on denying access to basic health care services –including contraception and abortion?

Really, why do we let them get away with this?

In San Francisco, The Trust Women/ Silver Ribbon campaign is literally taking the message of reproductive justice to the streets by flying banners—colorful, clear and decisive—all over the city. The banners are more than a defensive operation in the battle against women’s autonomy; they seek to end the offensive by reminding us that most Americans are, after all, pro-choice.

The banners read:

  • Her Decision, Her Health
  • U.S. Out of My Uterus
  • Fix the Economy, Support My Autonomy
  • Reproductive Rights are Human Rights
  • San Francisco is Pro-Choice

That’s all very good, you might say, but I don’t live in San Francisco.

During Trust Women Week, January 20-27, the campaign is staging a Virtual March (with  MoveOn)—a time for reproductive justice supporters to express their support online.

So go here and take action.  Let’s end the War on Women.

“Abortion is a matter of survival for women”

January 22nd, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling

It was 37 years ago today that the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, in which the Court held that a woman’s right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

In commemoration of that decision and women’s right to autonomy over personal reproductive decisions, I’m posting some of the newly released video of the late Dr. George Tiller talking about why he performed abortions.

Thank you, Dr. Tiller, for trusting women.

Penelope Trunk: Telling the truth about women’s lives

September 24th, 2009 by Elizabeth Kissling

I adore Penelope Trunk. I may not always agree with her, but I always read her column, and I’m glad she exists. Today, she wrote about the backlash she received for this recent tweet:

Twitter _ Penelope Trunk_ I_m in a board meeting. Ha ...-2

She is a little stunned that there was such an uproar about her tweet: other bloggers wrote posts about the “disgustingness” of it all, and 70 people stopped following her on Twitter (at this moment, she has more than 18,000 followers, so it’s not a huge uproar). She writes,

Most miscarriages happen at work. Twenty-five percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Seventy-five percent of women who are of child-bearing age are working. Most miscarriages run their course over weeks. Even if you are someone who wanted the baby and are devastated by the loss, you’re not going to sit in bed for weeks. You are going to pick up your life and get back to it, which includes going back to work.

This means that there are thousands of miscarriages in progress, at work, on any given day. That we don’t acknowledge this is absurd. That it is such a common occurrence and no one thinks it’s okay to talk about is terrible for women.

Throughout history, the way women have gained control of the female experience is to talk about what is happening, and what it’s like. We see that women’s lives are more enjoyable, more full, and women are more able to summon resilience when women talk openly about their lives. [Emphasis mine]

I practically stood up and cheered. This is exactly why we started our little blog (I say ‘little’ because I know we don’t have 18,000 followers). We want to talk openly about women’s lives, and invite others to join the conversation. Although there are many times it is inconvenient, messy, sometimes even painful, menstruation, like miscarriage, is part of (most) women’s lives.

And like miscarriage, menstruation happens at work, too. From the factory floor to the board room, women are bleeding on the job. And sometimes, women need or want to talk about it. Maybe to seek support. Maybe to request a bathroom break to change her pad or tampon. Maybe to lie down for an hour until the cramps subside. Maybe just to know she’s normal. What’s “disgusting” isn’t the menstruating or the miscarrying, or even the talking about it, but the shaming of women for doing so. (Read the whole thing – the quote above is just an excerpt.)

And one more thing: Penelope Trunk is absolutely right – it is fucked up to have to wait three weeks for an abortion.

Readers should note that statements published in re: Cycling are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.