The House passed House Bill 20 last week, and the bill is now in the Senate Health & Social Services Committee for its consideration there. The bill would help those who struggle to afford basic menstrual hygiene products by requiring schools throughout Delaware to provide free tampons, pads and other period products to students.
“Period products are not a luxury. They are essential items for our daily lives,” said Rep. Valerie Longhurst. “But the cost can be a barrier. People of all ages struggle at some point in their lives to afford period products. This problem is magnified for low-income families, which puts stress on children as they mature.
“We have the opportunity and responsibility to take a stand for period equity by making tampons and pads available to all students who need them. Improving access to safe, sanitary products will help students go about their daily lives with dignity, and without shame or worry. I’m proud to take this step forward for Delaware children.”
|House Bill 20 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Longhurst, Heffernan, Lambert, Moore, Baumbach, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Griffith, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Morrison, Osienski, M.Smith||House Passed 40-0-1. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Bolden (Absent)|
|Gay, Lockman, Poore, Hansen, S.McBride, Paradee, Pinkney, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend|
|Current Status:||Passed Hosue 40-0-1. Now in Senate Health & Social Services 3/18/21|
According to 2020 surveys done by Always, one in three young people in the United States feel a lack of confidence because they’ve missed after-school activities, and one in three parents worry about affording period products, which is known as period poverty.
A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology on low-income women found that women already experiencing food insecurity were more likely to struggle to purchase basic menstrual hygiene products, with 21% of women unable to afford them on a monthly basis. Most recently, the National Center for Children in Poverty indicated that approximately 41% of children in Delaware are considered low-income.
“Every day in Delaware, students are missing class because they lack access to period supplies,” said Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, the prime Senate sponsor of HB 20. “This legislation directly helps those students by providing supplies in school bathrooms. By openly addressing issues affecting menstruators, we are demonstrating our commitment to removing the stigma of menstruation. I fought for this legislation long before I was elected to the Senate, and I am incredibly proud to be joining Rep. Valerie Longhurst as we take this critical step forward in Delaware.”
HB 20 also requires that menstrual products be made available in half of bathrooms designated non-gender conforming and that schools publish on its website and post in common areas the locations where the hygiene products would be provided. If passed, Delaware would join several states, including California, Illinois, New York, and New Hampshire, that have passed similar legislation requiring schools to make menstrual hygiene products available at no cost to students.