Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- The royal decree lifting the bleeding ban was announced Monday, passed by a majority vote of the Council of Senior Scholars - appointees of Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia - on the condition that menses was followed in accordance with Shariah law. The decree also indicated a high-level ministerial committee was being created to discuss any other possible issues that may need to be addressed, such as the possible use of toilet paper or cloth.
In the past, women who wanted to have a menstrual cycle had to be accompanied by a man, or have a note of permission from their male guardian. Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islamic law, known as ‘Wahhabism,’ requires the separation of women and men, that women wear veils to cover themselves, and requires women have a male guardian assigned to them. This guardian may be their father or husband, or even a male child. This presented a problem if the male guardian had to leave work or elementary school to accommodate a woman’s desire to menstruate.
“This is why they shouldn’t drive,” complained Sheikh Saleh Al-Loheidan. “Women only bleed in that vile way when their ovaries are damaged. Medical studies show that driving would automatically affect a woman's ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward."
The removal of the previous period ban may be attributed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - ambassador to the US, and 32-year-old son of King Salman - who was put in charge of transforming Saudi Arabia’s worldwide perception from an antiquated misogynistic monarchy to one as progressive as the later Middle Ages.