Updated: Sep 25
Recently I gave a speech at a protest centered around abortion and reproductive health care and justice, one year after the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The protest was held by the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee, of which I am also a member.
"Good afternoon, everyone! Thank you for having me. My name is Carolyn, and I am a member of MNAAC, but I am speaking today on behalf of Period Wellness, an organization I lead that is dedicated to menstrual health education, research, and advocacy.
Abortion and menstrual health fall under the same umbrella of reproductive healthcare and justice. Period Wellness believes that everyone deserves menstrual healthcare and support from your first period to post-menopause.
It's time that we call out the mistreatment we’ve had and recognize it for what it is. Menstrual pain isn’t “just what having a period is" and "to get used to it” - it's intentionally being abandoned and harmed by our country and medical system because we have a uterus. We need a system that supports all of us!
This year we are thankful for the codification of the PRO Act in Minnesota, and also the passing of the menstrual equity bill, making sure schools in MN have free menstrual products for their students.
I’m excited to also announce a new sub-committee within MNAAC that is all about menstrual health.
And we have a ways to go. Reproductive justice isn’t just abortion and there's a lot at risk. Expanding access to reproductive health care needs to happen immediately. Minnesota is ranked as having one of the best healthcare systems in America. But what about our reproductive health care? To protect our community and actually provide the health care we say we do we demand that Minnesota increases the number of abortion clinics. This is imperative to menstrual health! Our neighbors without access are relying on our clinics to help them and we need more.
As well as demanding more clinics for abortion, I’m also here to advocate for what else we need in and out of the clinics:
Better sex-ed so people know what a period is, and aren’t fearful or made to be ashamed of it. So they are taught how someone can get pregnant. So they are taught all of their options, including how to get an abortion.
Education for providers on menopause. An hour lecture in 4 years of medical school is not enough for the millions of menstruators suffering!
Protecting the right to contraception in MN and all states, like Nevada has done. This might be next on SCOTUS’s list as some states are trying to ban IUDs and other emergency contraceptive devices like Plan B. These are birth control methods and do not cause abortion. This should reiterate the first point about the need for better sex-ed, specifically for these elected officials!
And while we're at it, we need pain treatments like numbing cream for things like IUDs and cervical exams because that shit hurts!
Paid leave for things like menstrual pain, abortion, and of course parental leave.
Better research for conditions like endometriosis and PCOS that can make our lives a living hell.
We need free menstrual products in every public space across our state
Climate change actions that attack the corporations and military thats polluting our waters, soil, and our cycles!
I could go on and on but I will spare us..
Menstrual health from the first period to post-menopause has been shamed for far too long, including abortions. Periods and abortions are a normal part of healthcare. Everyone needs access to safe and healthy menstrual cycles and abortion care. Not just those who are able to make an appointment in one of only 8 clinics in Minnesota. We deserve and demand better care!"