Bipartisan Passage Of Bill To Make Free Menstrual Hygiene Products Available For Students (June 6, 2024)

On June 4, 2024, House Bill 851 was approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a result of a bipartisan vote. The bill would make menstrual hygiene products available at no cost in Pennsylvania schools so students can have peace of mind to focus on academic learning, school attendance, and their health.

Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal calls for $3 million to provide menstrual hygiene products in schools to help close a gap in women’s health care that too often hurts low-income girls and young women of color. The funding will enable schools to provide access to period products at no cost to students and complements the efforts undertaken by the Shapiro Administration to improve health equity in Pennsylvania.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. “In 2021, two in five people struggled to purchase period products, an increase of 35% from 2018. Individuals that cannot afford period products can be found using newspapers, rags, and socks instead of pads, pantiliners, or tampons, leading to health problems. Further, period poverty disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx communities: nearly a quarter of menstruating individuals within these communities struggled to afford period products in 2021,” said Representatives Parker and Hill-Evans in the bill’s cosponsorship memo.