SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Women and girls staying at homeless shelters in Illinois would have access to free menstrual products under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville. Stuart’s House Bill 2656 passed the House with bipartisan support in April, and recently received approval from the Senate Human Services Committee.
“Providing adequate access to menstrual products is something I have been working on throughout this year, first by having a menstrual product drive in March and April, and now by sponsoring this legislation,” Stuart said. “Menstrual products are a necessity for women, so providing products free of charge for our most vulnerable is critical for women’s health.”
House Bill 2656 creates the Feminine Hygiene Products for The Homeless Act. This legislation seeks to provide sanitary napkins, tampons and panty liners free of charge at homeless shelters that focus on providing services to women or youth. Inadequate access to menstrual products puts women and girls at higher risk of contracting urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections and cervical cancer.
“Homeless shelters provide essential services to those with nowhere else to turn, and menstrual products should be included in those services,” continued Stuart. “Our homeless population already faces so many obstacles. Access to necessary hygiene products will be one less obstacle for homeless women in our state with this legislation.”