Bye. The House passed a bill providing students with free pads and tampons

A Republican lawmaker said Tuesday she opposes a bill that would provide free pads and tampons to public school students because it could lead to communism.

House Bill 851 would create a grant program to provide public schools with funds to distribute menstrual hygiene products free to students. It passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday by a by a vote of 117 to 85.

Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (Clinton) objected to language in the bill’s co-sponsoring memo that referred to menstruating “people” and said on the House floor that the legislation was “just another step by the governor and Democrats to try to get the government to provide everything for you, which leads to communism. A government gigantic enough to give you everything you want is a government gigantic enough to take everything.

Rep. Darisha Parker (Philadelphia), one of the bill’s lead authors, told the House that its goal is to support students. “But more importantly, it is also a chance to restore dignity to women and girls who have been left unsupported for too long,” Parker said.

Two out of five people have difficulty purchasing menstrual productsParker added, “and those who cannot afford it resort to unsafe and unsanitary measures, including using newspapers, rags and socks instead of pads, panty liners or tampons.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro has $48 billion Budget proposal for 2024–25 Calls for $3 million to provide free pads and tampons in Pennsylvania schools. The proposal noted that nationwide, 1 in 4 teens missed school due to lack of access to menstrual hygiene products.

“This budget will make feminine hygiene products available for free in our schools because girls deserve the peace of mind so they can focus on their studies,” Shapiro said during his February budget speech.

Shapiro praised the bill on social media Tuesday, calling it a “big step forward.”

From April 2024 27 states and Washington DC. passed a law providing students with free menstrual products in schools.

“The truth we need to broadcast loudly and often is that periods are not shameful or unclean, and they are not something you should feel obligated to hide,” said Rep. Carol Hill-Evans (D-York), another from the bill’s main sponsors, said Tuesday’s press release. “When we talk about menstrual health and acceptance, we are ultimately talking about our ongoing fight to empower women.”

The bill will now go to the GOP-controlled Senate for consideration.

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