Ashley Greene, the founder and CEO of a menstruation wellness startup, was extremely emotional when she learned that Roe v Wade was overturned and abortion rights had been outlawed in the U.S.—especially considering the fact that she and her husband are expecting their first baby very soon.
“I cried a couple of times, I was angry and in disbelief,” Greene told LAMag over the weekend at the Create and Cultivate conference in downtown L.A. “I’m trying to look at what I can do to make a difference. How can I help people gain access? How can I vote to make a difference? I’m trying to come up with solutions because otherwise, I’m just angry.”
Greene owns a company called Hummingway, which gives women direct and digestible information along with health solutions that enable them to understand menstrual cycle care. The company’s mission is to help women become more in tune with their bodies and understand how to deal with their menstrual cycle symptoms.
Greene, who is also an actor who appeared as Alice Cullen in the “Twilight” movies, said that she never thought the U.S. would get to this point, but now that the Supreme Court has officially outlawed abortion, she can’t help but think about how their votes affect her pregnancy—and potentially her company.
“It’s hard to think about bringing children into this world when decisions like this are still being made and we’re going in reverse, versus moving forward,” Greene said.
The feelings she is having after the SCOTUS decision are the exact opposite of those she would like to be experiencing this far into her pregnancy, she said. But Greene added that she’s very grateful to be in California, as she knows that this is where people can and do make a difference. Still, Greene said she hopes the government will give women the right to choose again before her child is old enough to understand what happened in the high court this summer.
“I would like to think that by the time we have those conversations, things have shifted back in the right direction. I think one of the things that I’ve seen and the hopes that I have are that, as women make up over 50 percent of this population, we are riled up. I’ve seen this fire lit in every person that I’ve come in contact with, so I have a lot of faith that there are going to be things that change in the right direction,” Greene said.
Hummingway provides nontoxic solutions for menstrual cycle symptoms—it’s not a company in the business of providing abortion pills, she stresses. But the company does share educational points and news; after something as surprising and unprecedented as the Roe reversal, Greene says that what could happen down the road—even a company like hers being outlawed—feels like a possibility.
“I don’t think that it would go that far, but who knows. I also didn’t think that [Roe] would ever be overturned, but I think for us, it’s kind of the opposite,” she added. “I think that we will have the ability to make an even bigger impact than we initially anticipated.”
Over the weekend at Create & Cultivate’s all-female conference, Greene hosted a panel in which she discussed how Hummingway is disrupting the industry to make period products more accessible for all. Though she said there was worry that the despair many women were feeling over the weekend about the Roe decision would be apparent, in the end, the vibe at her talk turned out to be warm and engaging.
“Because we are an educational platform, a lot of people are new to what we’re speaking about,” Greene said. “So when we’re talking about the different phases of your menstrual cycle, a lot of people in the crowd were just kind of shocked because they didn’t know that our menstrual cycle is more than just our bleed. We’re obviously all forward-thinking women who are here to support each other. So there was this really wonderful, uplifting energy mixed in with the heaviness of the decisions that were made in court.”
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