Mike Pence, God’s Menstruation Monitor

Vox published a story on Monday that, well, if you didn’t know who and what Mike Pence was, you’d be surprised. But if you did know something about Pence’s extreme religious conservatism, you wouldn’t be surprised. Here is the opening of the Vox story:

It’s no secret that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, opposes abortion rights. Pence basically invented the Republican Party’s war on Planned Parenthood while he was in Congress. He wants Roe v. Wade to be overturned. He signed every anti-abortion bill that crossed his desk as governor of Indiana.

But Pence signed one anti-abortion bill in March of this year that was so extreme, even some pro-life Republicans opposed it. And it was eventually blocked from going into effect by a federal judge for violating women’s right to choose.

The law did something truly bizarre. It would have basically forced women to seek funerary services for a fetus — whether she’d had an abortion or a miscarriage, and no matter how far along the pregnancy was.

Mandatory funerals for fetuses. Mandatory funerals even for fetuses lost to miscarriages. Keep in mind that Pence signed that horrendous bill—the logic of which led to absurdities like menstrual monitoring—in March. In March of, uh, 2016. Before Trump picked him.

As Vox pointed out, the law Pence signed “would have required all fetal tissue to be cremated or buried.” All of it:

The wording of the burial provision meant that technically, even if a woman had a miscarriage at eight weeks of pregnancy at home, she would have to keep the blood and tissue, take it to a hospital or clinic, and have it buried or cremated by a funeral home.

I’ve written about abortion several times over the years, especially noting that many pregnancies are terminated by “God,” since miscarriages are common in nature. Vox says:

[S]ince about half of miscarriages happen shortly after a fertilized egg is implanted, and occur at roughly the same time a woman would expect her period, many women could be having a miscarriage and not even know it — and thus, technically be violating the law if they didn’t cremate or bury the resulting tissue.

As a protest against the new law’s extreme requirements, women who opposed the law started a Facebook group called “Periods for Pence.” Members of the group started calling Pence’s office in droves to tell him about their periods in graphic detail.

“Any period could potentially be a miscarriage,” wrote the anonymous founder of Periods for Pence in an introductory post. “I would certainly hate for any of my fellow Hoosier women to be at risk of penalty” if they don’t properly dispose of or report a potential miscarriage.

The idea of women reporting their periods as a legal precaution sounds absurd and Orwellian. But it’s also what happens when you take a law as bizarre and medically incoherent as Indiana’s to its logical conclusion.

It’s also what happens when religious zealots—a majority of them men—use extremist theology to control women’s reproductive choices. In this case, they claimed they were protecting “fetuses against discrimination based on disability”—which would have prohibited a woman from choosing to terminate a pregnancy involving a fetus with a Image result for mike penceserious genetic disorder. But like all fundamentalist zealots, what Pence and the Republicans in the Indiana legislature were really doing was forcing women in Indiana to live under the thumb of an extremist religious doctrine, of a wild-eyed religion-based morality, that, if Americans give Pence a chance, he will do his best to force on women everywhere in America.

Let me note here that the federal judge in Indiana who, for now, stopped this legislative nightmare is Tanya Walton Pratt. And let me further note that she was appointed by Barack Obama. And let me now state the obvious: if we don’t stop them, a Trump-Pence administration will bring us judges who will not do what Judge Pratt did. They will approve of it.

We hear a lot of talk, from people like Mike Pence, about “radical Islam” and “sharia law.” No doubt you will hear such talk coming from him tonight during the vice presidential debate. But know that it will be coming from a Republican who, just six months ago, attempted to impose on women in his state a radical form of Christianity, the Christian expression of sharia law. And like his fundamentalist Muslim brethren overseas, Pence is not shy about it. He admits it. He’s proud of it. And he wants to spread it and other manifestations of Christian sharia from sea to shining sea.

God help us if he gets his wish.

Leave a comment


  1. Now I’m wondering, what constitutes “funerary services”? The use of funeral “homes”, as I understand it, is currently justified only because of sanitation concerns, i.e. the potential spread of pathogens from a dead body. The use of “services” however, implies that religious rites would be mandatory. Would that be unconstitutional? I can picture a Trumpian conservative court ruling that it isn’t insofar that a specific religion is not mandated. Then the camel’s nose would be well into the Sharia tent. OMG.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I understand it, Jim, the law only mandated the burial or cremation of fetal material, not any rite (Republicans aren’t quite that dumb–yet; Trump/Pence just might push them that far, though). And OMG is right.


  2. ansonburlingame

     /  October 4, 2016


    You address an issue that I agree with your position. For a political party that stands for limited government to demand such intrusion into private lives is beyond contempt. Perhaps the moderator tonight might ask Pence his views on “real rape”.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad we agree on this, Anson. It is rather hypocritical of a party that prides itself (remember those tea party rallies) for its views on limited government to use government force to extinguish the rights of 51% of the population. It’s also hypocritical that a party that promotes religious freedom (when it comes to the contraceptive mandate) doesn’t allow women to exercise their own religious freedom (not to mention their constitutional right) when it comes to the moral status of a fertilized egg they may be carrying.

      I suspect that even if the moderator leaves the abortion question alone, it will come up. Tim Kaine’s record as governor of Virginia caused a lot of pro-choice folks headaches, even though he has had a pretty solid pro-choice stance for a number of years now. His position is essentially one that all religious Americans who believe in the Constitution should, but don’t, hold: he is personally opposed to abortion on essentially religious grounds, but would not force his religious views on others via government.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. On the subject of abortion, I’ve used the analogy that killing a caterpillar is not killing a butterfly, it’s killing a caterpillar. Big difference.

    A few months ago I wrote an Op-Ed for the Glob, “Pro-life or pro-birth?” It was published in the Saturday paper, which nobody reads. And you won’t find it in the archives. Hmmmmm.

    Anyway, I had a couple of paragraphs in there that read: “. . . the term “pro-life” may be a misnomer in the context of abortion. Consider this from Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. – a prolific author and outspoken critic of Catholic doctrine– addressing Republican lawmakers:

    “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

    So, abortion is a moral issue for the bible-thumpers because there is nothing about it in the bible. The idea that abortion was murder came along a couple of thousand years later.

    Governor Pence ought to read this (along with all evangelicals/fundamentalists) : http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_abortion.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this – especially because you referenced Sr. Joan. Thank you, Herb.


      • Thanks Dawn. Since you liked that quote, here is how I ended the piece:

        Christopher Hale, executive director for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, in a January 22, 2015 article in Time Magazine, “Pro-Life Is More Than Being Pro-Birth,” writes:

        “To be truly pro-life, we cannot simply support a child’s right to be born, but also the right of the mother to expect substantial support from her community and from her government. We can’t be pro-life and anti-woman. It doesn’t work. And we can’t be pro-life and anti-government. It doesn’t work.

        “If today’s anti-abortion movement transforms into tomorrow’s pro-life movement, it can transcend the ideological divisions that plague our nation and proclaim a simple truth that can bind our people — especially the young — together: that everyone deserves a life, a family, and a future. But to do so, this pro-life generation must protect every person’s right to live, not just be born.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Herb. Good look at the issue. People should remember that in the Bible, fetuses were treated as property, not people. They had value but not the same value as a breath-taking human being. The writers of the Bible could have placed the life of the fetus on par with, say, the mother’s life. But they did not do that. And to the extent one believes the Bible, one should take the way the Bible assigns relative value to a fetus as the authoritative word on the matter. For some odd reason, evangelicals do not do this. They invent ways of interpreting other passages as proof that God sees fetuses as people. But then that is what people have done to the Bible pretty much since it was assembled as one book.


  4. K Beck

     /  October 4, 2016

    A little off topic maybe, but I wonder why the religious right never questions the use or financing of Viagra? I mean, if the bible is used to this extreme against women’s rights, then you have to question why God would deem a man incapable of impregnating a woman. Is this God’s way of saying he does not want your seed in our society?

    K Beck


    • Good point. Viagra is a circumvention of God’s will and evangelicals should be bombing Viagra factories! Something tells me, though, that evangelicals love them some Viagra.



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