Halle Berry confronts stigma around menopause

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry joined a group of US senators on Thursday to announce new legislation that would provide tens of millions of dollars towards menopause research and education.

“The shame has to be taken out of menopause. We have to talk about this very normal part of our life,” said the Hollywood star, who picked up a best actress Oscar for 2001 romantic drama “Monster’s Ball.

The bill, Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act, is sponsored by senators from both parties and would divert $275 million to research, raising awareness and training health care professionals to deal with the hormone shift that women go through, mainly in middle age.

“Menopause is not a bad word. It’s not something to be ashamed of,” Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, told reporters at the news conference outside the US Capitol.

“And it is not something Congress or the federal government should ignore.”

The measure has no clear path yet to Joe Biden’s desk but Murray and her colleagues told reporters the aim was to get as many co-sponsors as possible before asking that it be put to a vote in the Senate.

Berry, the first woman of color and the still the only Black woman to win a best actress Oscar, has been vocal about her own experiences with menopause and said the issue needed to be “destigmatized.”

The actress — whose films include the “X-Men” series, the 2002 James Bond movie “Die Another Day” and the mercilessly mocked “Catwoman” (2004) — told reporters her doctor refused to use the word “menopause” in front of her.

“I finally realized he wasn’t going to say it,” Berry told reporters. “So I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to have to do what no man can do: I have to say it. I said, ‘I’m in menopause.'”


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