Mass. lawmakers consider bill to add free menstrual products in public schools

A handful of states, including New York and New Hampshire, have already passed laws requiring schools to provide free feminine hygiene products to students.

BOSTON (AP) — A bill making its way through the Massachusetts Statehouse would require schools to provide free disposable menstrual products to students.

Under the proposal, all “elementary and secondary public schools in the commonwealth serving students in any grade from grade six through grade twelve shall provide disposable menstrual products in the restrooms” of school buildings. The products would be provided at no charge.

The bill also requires school districts to make sure the products “shall be available in a convenient manner that does not stigmatize any student seeking such product.”

The bill has received the backing of the Legislature’s Education Committee but has yet to come up for a vote in either the Massachusetts House or Senate.

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A handful of states, including New York and New Hampshire, have already passed laws requiring schools to provide free feminine hygiene products to students.

In recent years, advocates have been working to ensure girls and women can get affordable access to feminine hygiene products in public schools and other institutions, such as homeless shelters and prisons.

They say the availability of free pads and tampons in schools helps chip away at any stigma surrounding the products and makes the products available to students who may not be able to afford them.

Massachusetts also exempts feminine hygiene products from the sales tax.

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