I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth control debate that’s going on right now and what we can actually do to make a difference — and, honestly, if we even could make a difference. The right is moving so far right they want to enact legislation that goes backwards into the 1950s. That’s just shameful.
But why? My guess is that the anti-choice types are incredible active, incredibly political and incredibly graphic. Honestly, I don’t care if someone thinks that life begins at conception. That is their right. What I do care about is that their religious beliefs are infringing on my health and access to treatments that affect my body (as well as that of every other woman in our country).
Today, when I was doubled over in pain at the grocery store and working VERY HARD not to vomit in the cleaning aisle (believe me I’m fully aware of the irony), I had an idea — why don’t the women who suffer from horrible and debilitating cramps and other menstrual-related issues document their pain in horrifying graphic detail and send it to every member of Congress that supports HR 1179? The majority of these people are men, and my guess is that they are incredibly uncomfortable with the comings and goings of a woman’s reproductive cycle. If they got hundreds or thousands of emails and letters explicitly detailing what cramps or ovarian cysts or endometriosis feels like (possibly with photos), maybe they wouldn’t feel so comfortable ignoring the medical needs associated with birth control. (Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything we can do to fight their ethical issues other than to get them the hell out of office.)
For every anti-choice person who sends them a disgusting picture of an aborted fetus, let’s send them an equally graphic and disgusting picture of a chocolate cyst. Send in a picture of yourself hunched over in the fetal position next to a bucket with three heating pads tied to your back. Show them the first degree burns you sustained from the heating pads or the vomit itself. Describe the nausea and the shooting pains down your legs that make you crippled for hours or days. Explain that the only time you’re not like this every month is when you’re on the pill. Explain that the pill costs less to your company (and your country) than the lost hours or days of productivity. Explain whatever the hell it is that happens to you in the way that you’d explain it to your mom or best friend or the nurse at your office or school that would send you home with a medical excuse. Don’t be shy. They’re not shy about stripping away your rights, so they should probably see what the after effects are.
This is what I wrote today: [WARNING: IT IS VERY, VERY EXPLICIT]
I’m 34 years old, single and not sexually active. I’m a registered voter and am generally quite political. Though I am not currently in your constituency, I have recently become very active in supporting your opponent.
Why? Because I have horrifying and debilitating menstrual cramps that often include ovarian cysts. In fact, I spent most of the day trying not to vomit (as I did yesterday and earlier on Friday night). If you are not aware (and I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are currently not aware — based simply on your voting record and current activities in the House), the hormones in birth control pills help regulate the lining of my uterine wall. What does that mean? (Again, I will assume that you don’t know what birth control does based on your political record.) Well, a thinner uterine wall means my body doesn’t have to work as hard to slough off the blood, tissue, membranes and various other cells from my uterus every month. It also means I am less likely to vomit on the floor of a grocery store (or my home) or suffer first degree burns from a heating pad or kidney damage from over-the-counter pain killers. It also means that I am a more functional member of society that doesn’t have to call in sick to work or school.
Of course, as I am currently not on the pill and may not be able to be on the pill thanks to your support of HR 1179: the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, I can do little more than complain to you about my intense nausea and pain that is radiating from uterus and right ovary into my back and, about every five minutes or so, shooting down into my quadriceps to cause intense leg cramping. Actually, you should also know that I spent much of this morning crying on a cold tile floor, waiting to vomit water because I could not keep down crackers. I’ll spare you how many times I’ve defecated as a result of my cramps, but you should know that it was four times more than usual amount.
Pretty gross, huh? Well, that’s just a basic description of what happens to me and many, MANY women like me for three to seven days out of every month. And if you continue to support legislation that limits my ability to control what is happening to my body, I promise that I will send you every disgusting detail of my period every month… and I will encourage every friend and family member to do the same. Think abortion photos make you uncomfortable? Imagine being inundated with menstrual photos. Because you will. And they’re going to be awful.
Please change your position on this incredibly intrusive piece of legislation or I will make it my pet project for three days a month to share everything I can with you about my cycle.
Portland, Oregon 97211
And who did I send it to?
Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska
(FYI, this is the email address to his 2012 campaign fund, all other forms of contact were disengaged because I did not live in his district.)
and every single co-sponsor of this legislation (found here).
Tip: You may need to know the proper zip codes to write in to the congressperson. Fortunately, you just need to plug in the zip code of the “home” office listed on site and it should work. If you get tired of that, you can also just email their re-election group like I did with Rep. Fortenberry.
Anyway, it’s just an idea. Feel free to join in if you want. Or share it with friends. Or not. I’d really just like to have safe and legal access to birth control regardless of how I choose to use it. And if the side effect of this activism is grossing out jerks like Michelle Bachmann and Jim Sensenbrenner… so be it.