After weeks of protest, a new anti-abortion bill in Indiana is being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
The bill, which would go into effect on July 1, outlaws abortion in the case of “a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability” and requires that aborted and miscarried fetuses must be buried or cremated.
As part of the #PeriodsForPence campaign, women have been calling, tweeting, and messaging Indiana Gov. Mike Pence with details of their periods, since he seemed concerned about the contents of their uteruses.
The first post on the Facebook page for #PeriodsForPence states:
Fertilized eggs can be expelled during a woman’s period without a woman even knowing that she might have had the potential blastocyst in her. Therefore, any period could potentially be a miscarriage without knowledge. I would certainly hate for any of my fellow Hoosier women to be at risk of penalty if they do not “properly dispose” of this or report it. Just to cover our bases, perhaps we should make sure to contact Governor Pence’s office to report our periods.
From there, Indiana women and men took the call to target Pence, as well as the bill’s author, Casey Cox, very seriously:
@GovPenceIN my period started 2 days ago. It was milky at first, but now it's a consistent red. Have you experienced that? #periodsforpence— Aurora Adachi-Winter (@AuroraAW) April 8, 2016
@GovPenceIN I saved all my fem products from this month, should I put in ziplock to keep fresh and mail 2 you? #periodsforPence #compliance— Kellie Bodi (@OweMama) April 8, 2016
The response was so great that on April 6, there were reports on Twitter and Facebook that Pence’s office had disconnected their phone lines.
Shut-down lines, however, did not deter protestors from using social media, email, and Pence’s website to keep him updated about all their reproductive goings-on, and phone lines are apparently operating again.
Aside from uterine information, Pence now has to deal with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against his state, which seeks an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and places undue burdens on both women and abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood does not ask women why they are seeking abortions, but the fetal abnormality clause in the bill now means doctors could face sanctions for not doing so, ABC News reports. The lawsuit also deems the bill’s requirement for fetal burial or cremation unnecessary and costly; no other types of medical waste are handled this way.
The legal director of the Indiana ACLU, Ken Falk, said to the Chicago Tribune: “The State of Indiana’s attempt to invade a woman’s privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unprecedented and unconstitutional.”