‘Periods for Pence’ campaign targets Indiana governor over abortion law
By Mitch Smith
Apr 8, 2016
GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE of Indiana has been the focus of an unusual campaign on Facebook and Twitter over an abortion law he signed. One woman invited Gov. Mike Pence to her gynecologist appointment. Another provided an update on her cramps. Another tweeted that she had just changed her tampon.
The social media missives directed to Indiana’s governor this week have been frequent, pointed and unyielding in their descriptions of female physiology. They are part of an unusual campaign on Facebook and Twitter to express outrage at a law that Mr. Pence, a Republican, signed last month that created several new restrictions on abortions.
The protesters often post with the hashtag #periodsforpence and mix anatomical details with a touch of humor:
@GovPenceIN @periodsforpence Started my cycle today. When will you be by to check my used pads for HB1337 compliance so I know to be home?
— Sasha P (@Sasha827) April 6, 2016
The campaign is an attempt to shock and shake up the state capital, but it has also drawn attention from outside the state to the new abortion law -- in particular a requirement that miscarried or aborted fetuses be cremated or interred.
The law, which also includes a ban on abortions motivated solely by gender, race or disability, made Indiana’s abortion rules among the country’s most restrictive, and led to scathing critiques of Mr. Pence, who said last month that he signed the bill “with a prayer.”
Anti-abortion groups praised the law, but abortion providers and women’s groups denounced it as unduly burdensome and far more comprehensive than in many other states. Other states have enacted some of the same provisions, but have often done so piecemeal rather than in a single bill.
On Thursday, the Indiana branches of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the legislation.
.@GovPenceIN is not a doctor. He needs to get out, stay out of our doctors' offices @ACLUIndiana #1337 #reprorights pic.twitter.com/qLNJ2MvrO1
— PPINK (@PPIndKentucky) April 7, 2016
The Facebook page, Periods for Pence, started late last month, features a grimacing photo of Mr. Pence and a request that women call the governor’s office to “report our periods.”
“You should really let him know, since he’s so concerned,” says an early post from the page’s anonymous creator, who identifies herself only as an Indiana woman. “It will only take a few minutes of your day, but it lets them face an undue and unjust burden, for a change!”
The page’s creator takes particular issue with the requirement that miscarried fetuses be interred or cremated, noting that “fertilized eggs can be expelled during a woman’s period without a woman even knowing” she is pregnant.
“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,” the post says. “Just to cover our bases, perhaps we should make sure to contact Governor Pence’s office to report our periods.”
More than 32,000 people had liked that Facebook page as of Thursday, and an associated Twitter account had more than 1,600 followers. Though some Facebook commenters have defended the new law, scores of others have snarkily described their calls to Mr. Pence’s office or detailed their periods.
@PeriodsforPence: Perimenopausal bleeding happening now in South Bend. Some heavy flow, I tell you, Pence. Thanks so much for your concern!
— April Lidinsky (@AprilLidinsky) April 2, 2016
Mr. Pence is up for re-election this year, and many expect the race to be close. His spokeswoman, Kara Brooks, did not respond to a request for comment about the latest social media backlash.
Despite the onslaught of critiques, Mr. Pence’s own Twitter account has remained active, though he has not mentioned abortion in recent days. . . .