For years, pro-choice activists have united around a familiar rallying cry: Get your politics out of my uterus! Politicians, unfortunately, have not listened. Conservative legislators have passed nearly 300 abortion restrictions in the past five years, forcing 162 providers to close and often enacting humiliating and bizarre regulations in the process—such as forcing women to pay for fetus funerals or requiring doctors to tell their patients, misleadingly, that abortion will increase their risk of contracting breast cancer.
In response to the heavy flow of abortion regulations, Washington-based underwear designer Sarah Palatnik has designed a line of period underwear, each featuring a photo of a staunchly anti-abortion candidate—charmingly referred to as "blood dumpsters"—printed in the crotch. The point of this design is to allow women to, in her eloquent terms, "BLEED ALL OVER EM!"
"I think it's just so powerful to take that thing [anti-abortion politicians] are trying so hard to oppress, and also to take something that we, as a society, consider shameful and give it some power—just bleed on these guys' faces," Palatnik told Broadly over the phone. In other words, if someone won't figuratively stay out of your uterus, you might as well literally spew some discarded uterine lining on his or her likeness.
As of now, there are nine "blood dumpster" options. They include Ted Cruz, who is vehemently anti-Planned Parenthood despite the fact that there is no evidence that the organization has done anything wrong; Donald Trump, who infamously made some odd misogynistic comments about Megyn Kelly being on her period; and Sarah Palin, who is personally opposed to abortion even in cases of rape. Palatnik donates $3 from each purchase to a Planned Parenthood located in the state affected by each chosen politician; with Trump, who does not govern anywhere, she donates to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Predictably, Trump is by far the bestselling option—although Palatnik says that "there have been a lot of comments from people who like the idea but don't want Donald Trump's face near their vagina," which she sees as understandable. "I knew this wasn't going to be a product that everyone was going to get on board with," she added cheerfully.
The underwear are brightly colored and high-waisted, with attachable heat pads "to keep your hands free and body happy when you have cramps." (Palatnik compares the sensation of wearing these pads to "getting hugged by a cat.") She purposely avoided making the garments dark, she said, because "the blood, in this case, is supposed to be visible. It's supposed to be on these guys' faces."
While many of the responses have been positive—Palatnik says she has been inundated with orders to the extent that she's had to hire extra seamstresses—some have criticized her for being disrespectful towards the unfortunate candidates chosen as blood dumpsters. Palatnik, however, takes issue with the idea that menstruating on a politician's photo is somehow less appropriate than restricting women's reproductive autonomy. "I'm like, 'It's actually kind of a little more disrespectful to try to control other people's bodies,'" she said.