WASHINGTON, March 27, 2012 -- Amid the stacks of constituent letters, national newspapers and co-sponsor requests, some members of Congress are about find a plush, pink, hand-knitted uterus tucked into their daily mail deliveries.
For a growing group of women's rights activists, the days of merely sending letters or emails to their elected officials are gone. Instead, members of the group Government Free VJJ are breaking out their knitting needles, crochet hooks, sewing kits and any other crafty tool available to make male Congressmen their own uterus.
"The message is hands off my uterus. If you want one to control, here's one of your own," said the group's co-founder Donna Drunchunas, an avid knitter and author of six knitting books, said she got the idea for the group about two weeks ago after a feisty twitter conversation.
Recent state and federal efforts to regulate women's health issues, such as contraception being covered under insurance, and the heated rhetoric from men towards women's activists, such as conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh recently calling a Georgetown student a "slut" and a "prostitute," were so "ridiculous" she said that it was time to take action.
"It's not about being pro-choice or pro-life now, the government is trying to get involved in all kinds of women's health care issues," Drunchunas said. "When I was younger I thought this was all over and we had kind of arrived at some sort of equality between men and women and apparently that is not true."
But for Drunchunas, writing a letter was not enough.
"Writing a letter doesn't feel like it makes an impact," Druchunas said. "An intern looks at all the letters and adds up those that are pro and against. You just become a checkmark."
But sending a hand-knitted uterus, a carefully crocheted vagina or specially sewn cervix "makes a splash."
"This is funny and sarcastic and different," she said, adding that she hopes to eventually send "thousands" of the fuzzy lady parts to Congressmen.
As of Tuesday, the crafty renditions of female anatomy have been sent to at least 90 elected officials including senators, representatives and governors, according to a tally kept by Government Free VJJ.
Five knitted lady parts were sent to presidential candidate Rick Santorum and seven were sent to Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, more than any other politician, according to the tallies.
Massachusetts resident Ashley Weeks Cart said she decided to knit a "plush uterus" for Brown in order to "help spread some awareness."
"It's probably going to go in the garbage, I realize that," Cart said. "But I know a number of people who decided to make their own and send them to Sen. Brown, so if multiple are sent it will raise some eyebrows."
Brown's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he had received the knit uterus.
Cart, an avid blogger and mother of two daughters, said the "plush pieces of female anatomy" may be "totally silly" but, for some, they are also "shocking."
"I think it's a great way to get some people's attention and get people involved that otherwise might not be politically active," she said. "It's so gimmicky and silly, but that's why it's great. That's why people are talking about it."