Introducing Mass NOW's I AM bill.
An Act to Increase Access to Disposable Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools: HD2272/SD1381 (I AM. bill)
Menstrual products are a necessity – an essential part of caring for personal health for all menstruating individuals. Non-menstruating people go into a bathroom expecting their basic bodily needs will be met (toilet, toilet paper, soap, water etc.) – this is not the case for people who are menstruating.
The ability to access necessary menstrual products can be especially challenging for homeless individuals, people in prison, and many young people in public schools. Our new bill, co-written with the offices of two of our lead sponsors Senator Jehlen and Representative Livingstone. The measure is also being sponsored by Senator Cyr and Representative Barber and is explicitly focused on increasing access to menstrual products for these populations. We are excited to take the lead on building an intersectional coalition to advocate for this bill.
Mass NOW’s I AM bill would provide access to free menstrual products to all menstruating individuals in prisons, homeless shelters and public schools from 6th-12th grade. The bill also contains language to ensure the products are truly accessible without stigmatizing the individual seeking them.
Help us secure more co-sponsors for our new I AM. bill by calling or emailing your state representative by February 1! Click below to get a call script and template email.
Did you know...
- On average, menstruating individuals will use over 11,000 disposal pads and tampons in their lifetime. This can cost over $10 per month, and contributes to the “pink tax” – the idea that women (and in this case all menstruating people) pay more annually for their needs.
- Inability to access menstrual products can affect school attendance and productivity, adding to the issue of educational inequality.
- Lack of access to menstrual products is acutely difficult for homeless individuals, already struggling to meet other basic needs. HUD’s December 2018 report put the number of homeless individuals in MA at over 20,000, up 14%, the largest increase in homelessness from 2017-2018 in the country.
- Menstrual products provided in state prisons are often of poor quality or provide minimal protection. In turn, women are forced to improvise unsafe solutions or to ask guards for more, a subject often uncomfortable or difficult to broach given that 40% of guards in female state prisons are male. Prisoners have the option to purchase hygiene products from a commissary which are often unaffordable on their less-than-a-dollar hourly salary.