On Jan. 27, Vice President Mike Pence stood before a crowd gathered for the March for Life and called for the pro-life movement to be a compassionate "movement that embraces all, cares for all, and shows respect for the dignity and worth of every person." I've got six books Mike Pence needs to read about sexual health and reproductive rights, because he needs to know that abortion is compassionate, and that denying women rights over their bodies is not granting them dignity.
As the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence didn't endear himself to women who have the audacity to believe that they know more about their bodies than the government. After he signed a law requiring aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated — a provision becoming shockingly more popular around the country — women across Indiana began calling his office to update him on the status of their cycles. The so-called Periods for Pence initiative never went quite so far as similar efforts in Texas, but the menstrual activists' campaign highlighted Pence's ignorance about vaginal health.
Not having a vagina or uterus is no excuse for not knowing how the female reproductive system functions. Mike Pence obviously needs to read about sexual health and reproductive rights — broadly and deeply. Here are the six books he should start with.
1'Abortion & Life' by Jennifer Baumgardner
One in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion before she turns 45. Abortion & Life combines Jennifer Baumgardner's examination of Roe v. Wade's impact on the country with the stories of real-life figures who have had abortions.
2'Transgender 101' by Nicholas M. Teich
Transgender 101 is social worker Nicholas M. Teich's thin treatise on gender issues today and throughout history. This is a must-read for the Mike Pence, who needs to understand that some women have penises, and some men have abortions.
3'Every Third Woman in America' by David A. Grimes
How did making abortions safe and legal transform the lives of millions of women who needed them, and why is it important that we never go back? Pence should read David A. Grimes' Every Third Woman in America to learn the answers to these questions.
4'Killing the Black Body' by Dorothy Roberts
Reproductive justice is different for women of color, and, as Dorothy Roberts asserts, "[t]he denial of Black reproductive autonomy serves the interests of white supremacy." The VP should know that the fight for reproductive freedoms does not begin and end with white women.
5'Asking for It' by Kate Harding
Pence believes that only certain rapes "count" as criminal. He should read Kate Harding's Asking for It to understand how rape culture has led him to believe that women are often to blame for the crimes committed against them.
6'Our Bodies, Ourselves'
Since 1970, Our Bodies, Ourselves has been a go-to guide for girls and women looking to learn more about how their bodies function and age. Published in more than 30 languages and counting, this book has been an essential guide for millions. There's no reason why Pence should overlook it.