CITIZEN VOICES® Period products for all students?
Feb 08, 2019
After being approached by a high school student about an issue described as “period poverty,” state Sen. Martha Hennessey is sponsoring a 2019 bill that would require middle and high schools to offer feminine hygiene products in restrooms free of charge.
The New Hampshire Senate will vote on that bill February 14.
About period poverty
For many low-income women in New Hampshire and across the U.S., period products are too expensive. Female students in middle and high school sometimes must choose between staying home, using socks or other makeshift products, or missing class time to visit the school nurse for a pad.
The continued stigma around menstruation makes it even more difficult and embarrassing for young women to seek help when they cannot afford pads or tampons.
A statewide solution?
Sen. Hennessey’s bill, SB 142, would require all schools to make feminine hygiene products available for free in school restrooms.
Rochester, a town in Sen. Hennessey’s district, has already voluntarily started offering free products. Officials report that although there were some initial incidents of misuse and vandalism, the dispensers are working as planned.
Supporters, who include several teens who testified at the public hearing on the bill, argue SB 142 will make a great difference in the lives of young women.
Opponents argue that advocates should work with local school boards, nonprofits, and businesses to solve the issue of period poverty – not create another state mandate.