North Wales, Pa. – October 7, 2019 – Today, Senator Maria Collett (D-12, Bucks and Montgomery) introduced legislation to establish the “Pennsylvania Menstrual Equity Act,” to ensure that Menstrual Products (“MPs”) are made available in public bathroom facilities.
For nearly a century, Pennsylvania has required that public bathroom facilities provide basic health and hygiene supplies such as toilet paper, soap and trash receptacles. No similar requirement exists for MPs.
“To me, it’s a no-brainer. Humans need toilet paper. Public restrooms supply toilet paper. This is no different. Lack of access to these products can lead to compromised hygiene, embarrassment due to stigma, even missed days of work or school,” said Senator Collett. “Lack of public access is especially punitive to those living in poverty. Menstrual products are not covered by programs like SNAP or WIC.”
In researching this issue, Senator Collett sought the input of the nation’s leading expert on this topic, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, co-founder of Period Equity and vice president of NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, whose 2017 book “Periods Gone Public” has propelled this issue into the national spotlight: “I am extraordinarily grateful for and inspired by Senator Collett’s commitment to menstrual equity – and her acknowledgment that policies to ensure menstrual access are a key driver of true gender equity. The ability to participate fully in one’s education, in the workforce – and in daily life – requires that we acknowledge the existence and impact of menstruation, plain and simple. Her comprehensive bill sets the standard for how all states should be doing this.”
Under the legislation, Pennsylvania agencies serving the young, low-income, homeless, or incarcerated would be required to make menstrual products available at no cost just as they do with toilet paper and other basic hygiene products.
Senator Collett’s office has also been collecting menstrual hygiene products to donate to teens and adults in need. This product drive continues through October 19, National Period Day, and donations are welcome at the Senator’s North Wales and Warminster offices.