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Massachusetts bill would provide free menstrual products in prisons, shelters, and public schools

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A bill is making it’s way through the Massachusetts Statehouse concerning the dispersing of free menstrual products.

Both a House and Senate version of the bill is looking to give free access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools.

Disposable menstrual products would be provided at no cost to those who are housed in state prison facilities, county jails, and houses of correction and who menstruate.

In addition, any provider of temporary housing assistance, such as a family shelter, a shelter for adults, a hotel used for emergency shelter, an emergency apartment, a domestic violence shelter, a runaway and homeless youth shelter, or a safe house for refugees, would also be required to provide the products free of charge.

Lastly, all schools serving students in any grade from grade six through grade twelve would provide the free menstrual products in restrooms.

In all three situations, it would have to be ensured that the products would be available in a convenient manner that does not stigmatize the user.

“Disposable menstrual products,” would consist of sanitary napkins, tampons, and underwear liners.

Both versions of the bill were reported favorably by committee at the end of 2019 and have been referred, meaning votes have yet to take place.

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