This State Senator Wants to Put Free Menstrual Products in Public Facilities
The Pennsylvania Menstrual Equity Act would benefit anyone with a period, from incarcerated women to those experiencing homelessness.
A Pennsylvania senator is pushing for free menstrual products in public facilities, pointing out the irony in such hygiene products missing from, of all places, restrooms.
Sen. Maria Collett (D) introduced S.B. 956, or the Pennsylvania Menstrual Equity Act, on Monday. The act would require state-run agencies to make menstrual products available to young, low-income, and incarcerated women, as well as those experiencing homelessness.
Collett explained that the purpose of restrooms is hygiene, but that a lack of menstrual products is intrinsically unhygienic.
“When you go into the bathroom, you expect to find toilet paper there because it’s a hygiene issue. You expect to find soap to wash your hands, clean water, paper towels to dry,” she said. “This is no different. This is just a hygiene product and more than half of our population needs it, so there’s no reason not to have it right there in the bathroom.”
Collett said legislation like this came about in Pennsylvania after a large group of women lawmakers who recently joined the state’s legislature. She hopes to see other states follow suit, but believes the first step is to rid the stigma surrounding periods, which stops those conversations from happening.
“The truth of it is that the more we talk about menstruation, the more we talk about periods, the less uncommon the conversation is,” she said, “It means that people aren’t shamed.”