It wasn’t what the Alabama legislature actually did that was surprising (that was just infuriating), but it was the person behind the act that was the shocker.
Last week, the state legislature approved a medical marijuana bill. Yeah!! Enlightenment, you say. However, before passing the bill, the legislature removed conditions that apply just to women, including menopause symptoms. Also, on the no relief list: PMS and fibromyalgia. So, boo! Neanderthal thinking at its worst.
It’s easy to blame the overwhelming male legislature for this, and many have. “I am so disappointed that we have an amendment that seeks to exclude women that are 51 percent of the population of this country, of this state, but not in this body,” State Representative Merika Coleman told the press.
An Alabama Who Dunnit
Here’s the kicker, however. The person who proposed taking out the women-related conditions was a woman. Way to go Charlotte Meadows. “I don’t view that menopause or PMS is reason to go through this massive drug process,” she said.
We are assuming that Meadows has been through menopause, or at least peri-menopause. She graduated from Auburn University in 1984, which would put her more or less in her late 50s (unless she was a prodigy and graduated at age 12). Maybe she breezed through menopause; good for her. But what about every other woman? Doesn’t she have a friend who could have used some relief?
Doesn’t she have a friend who could have used some relief?
Here are the conditions that Alabamans can use medical marijuana to treat: chronic pain, panic disorder, nausea and weight loss from cancer, Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell, autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, depression, and terminal illnesses.
The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk, and the governor is a she who, at age 73, we can assume has been through menopause. What will she do? Will she say, “Hey, it’s not fair that conditions only women have were eliminated.” Don’t hold your breath.
We’ve long been advocating for more openness around menopause because it’s a natural part of our lives as women. Silence and weird acts like taking the pains to strike it out of a bill as if it’s not important are what can make older women feel invisible or ashamed. Come on, Alabama and Charlotte Meadows, we expect better of you.