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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: October 24, 2023 02:59 PM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank and Sen. Maria Collett, Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti
To: All Senate members
Subject: Accessibility to Menstrual Hygiene Products
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to help end “Period Poverty” for income eligible Pennsylvanians.

Period Poverty can be defined as the lack of access to menstrual products.  The lack of this basic necessity results in an issue of public and personal health, dignity, and wellbeing.  People who experience period poverty often rely on unsanitary methods of period management, such as extended use of products which can lead to toxic shock syndrome or using alternative items such as newspapers, rags, or socks, instead of tampons and pads. 

Without the basic necessities of period hygiene, many women and girls are forced to miss work or school and often have resulting mental health effects.  Studies have shown that people of color, low-income women and girls, and people living in rural areas all disproportionately experience period poverty.

It is for these reasons that I will introduce companion legislation to HB 850, offered by Representatives Darisha Parker and Carol Hill-Evans, that would require our Department of Human Services to apply to the federal government if a waiver is made available to states to allow those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to use the two programs for menstrual hygiene products.  Currently, these programs do not allow for the purchase of menstrual hygiene products, despite it being a necessity.

Additionally, I plan to offer a Resolution urging the United States Congress to expand certain federal safety net programs to provide menstrual hygiene products.

Menstruation can be difficult even with the proper hygiene products but should not be the reason that people miss out on work, school, or other life events.  It is time we end the stigma and increase healthy practices by providing menstrual products to anyone who needs them.

I hope you will consider joining me in this much needed legislation.

Document #1

Introduced as SB1016

Description: This bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to apply for a waiver if the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service creates and makes a waiver available to the states that would allow those receiving SNAP and WIC to use those programs for menstrual hygiene products.

Document #2

Introduced as SR215

Description: This Resolution will urge Congress to pass legislation on applicable safety-net programs to include menstrual hygiene products as a covered benefit.