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Women voice opinions on health-related issues

Periods are in the news. There I said it.

The old wives’ tales and references to “Aunt Flo” and “my friend” are out the door these days. Menses seems to be making headlines with very direct language sprinkled with sarcasm and light humor.

First, the serious.

This month, politics wreaked havoc on the telephones in Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office. Pence recently signed a controversial abortion law that’s opposed by pro-choice advocates. The new policy bans terminations due to the race or gender of the fetus, or genetic abnormalities, as was reported by Fox News. The mandate also states that fetal remains be cremated or buried.

Enter the period. Critics of the law mobilized their disdain in the form of telephone calls to the governor’s office:

Pence called the new law a “comprehensive pro-life measure,” but pro-choice activists say he is infringing on their rights, and any period could potentially be a miscarriage without their knowledge. Hence, women have been calling up the Republican governor’s office and informing staff about their menstrual cycles. They’ve posted the conversations on the “Periods for Pence” Facebook page, which has over 34,000 likes.


Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for Pence, told the Associated Press : “We are always willing to take calls from constituents who have questions, concerns or are looking for assistance.” 

[New LinkedIn group: Get speechwriting tips and discounts, and add your voice to the conversation.]

Meanwhile, over at the mall

If “Periods for Pence” wasn’t enough, menstrual cycles and fashion collided at J.C. Penney. The retailer’s “Spring Dress” splash made quite a splash with this number. The so-called “period dress” went viral, Digiday reported. Did designers intentionally place a dark-colored floral pattern strategically covering the pubic area for any reason, or no reason? Women voiced their opinions online, many posts containing a humorous chide:


Period_Skirt_JCPenney_reax noted that J.C. Penney didn’t give in to the social media detractors and opted to forgo “the typical corporate move of apologizing and pulling the offending skirt.”

Fortune reached out for further comment, but J.C. Penney is a corporation of few words when it comes to the issue. The official response from the press team: “The Company is going to refrain from providing additional comment beyond the response we issued yesterday on Twitter @jcpenney. Thanks for your interest.” And judging by the tweets that followed, many Twitter users agreed. “We don’t have JC Penney in Nova Scotia, but I’d wear the heck out of that skirt. Any time,” one wrote. The retailer’s understated reaction is notable because it goes against the reflective response by Big Business to get out of a “negative” news cycle as fast as possible. And for readers that like the dress, there’s an added incentive today: it is currently retailing for 40 percent off the original price.

Health care communicators work daily and diligently to discuss sensitive yet vital topics to individuals and the community at large. How do you and your team work out effective ways to inform and market to different sectors? Are you speaking their language and meeting their needs?