Embracing the Complexities of Living in a Birthing Body


In Nyssa's weekly 'Need to Know' series, we recap the three most important stories related to reproductive health, sex education, and bodily autonomy.

Birthing people's bodies have always been contested: where they're allowed to exist, how they're allowed to exist, and when they're allowed to exist. There is a constant push and pull of progress and regression.

Alongside major progress on the awareness of menopause in Wales is one U.S. state's effort to deputize citizens in an effort to eliminate access to abortion. With Larry Nassar's assumed-lifelong prison sentence for sexual abuse comes the FBI's botched handling of the case. It can be defeating to see the losses with the wins, but we keep pushing because we know we deserve better.

Here are the "Need to Know" stories of the week:

A "Menopause Revolution" is taking place in Wales

Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris with women's health advocates established the first All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause to launch an inquiry into Parliament to help GPs and individuals recognize menopausal symptoms. The inquiry, which had its first session this week, will examine the lack of understanding of menopause among policymakers, the public, and employers. In the UK, 51 is the average age women begin experiencing menopausal symptoms such as chills, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, among others.

Texas law incentivizes citizens to sue abortion providers

Texas recently passed SB 8, a new state law that bans abortion at six weeks and encourages private citizens to sue providers or anyone who assists another person in having one. This means family or friends could be sued if they're caught "aiding or abetting" a loved one seeking an abortion. The state is offering a bounty of $10,000 to the suing party if they win. The ACLU with partners filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to stop the law from going into effect.

FBI Mishandled the Larry Nassar Sexual Abuse Case

In a new report, U.S. Inspector General found the FBI delayed handling the sexual abuse case involving Larry Nassar by nearly a year. The U.S. Gymnastics first brought allegations of sexual assault to the FBI in July 2015; they started pursuing the case in September 2016. More than 160 women and girls said Nassar sexually abused them. We'll never know how many of those victims' abuse could have been prevented had the FBI acted sooner.