Bridget J. Crawford, Emily Gold Waldman
In this Essay, we re-examine our 2022 book, Menstruation Matters: Challenging the Law’s Silence on Periods, through multiple related lenses, including the human rights, sustainability, and workplace issues emphasized by our three reviewers; the COVID-19 pandemic; and the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. All of these perspectives converge on the inherent dignity and autonomy interests in being able to manage one’s own body. Menstruation and related conditions like breastfeeding, pregnancy, and menopause should not be sources of shame or stigma. Nor should they be vectors of formal control by the government or de facto exclusion from school, work, or any aspect of public life. Yet the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade means that reproduction-associated bodily processes likely will be the focus of legal battles for years to come. As we continue to emphasize the many ways that menstruation matters in life and law, we strive for a legal future that recognizes the full humanity of all people and safeguards our equal rights.