SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Menstrual products would be available free of charge in campus restrooms under legislation introduced by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, which recently passed the House with bipartisan support.
“A lack of access to menstrual hygiene supplies can affect not only a student’s health but also their education if they’re consistently missing class during their period,” said Stuart. “Period poverty is more common than people may think, and my bill helps destigmatize the issue by increasing access to menstrual products.”
According to a study by researchers at George Mason University, approximately 14% of university students experienced period poverty in the past year, with 10% of students reporting an inability to afford period supplies each month. Stuart’s House Bill 641 requires menstrual products to be available at no cost in restrooms on college campuses, helping students and faculty members meet their basic hygiene needs. Stuart is also sponsoring legislation to make menstrual products available in the bathrooms of schools serving 4th through 12th grade students.
“Period products are necessary items, like soap and toilet paper, that should be easily accessible to anyone who needs them,” said Stuart. “Many of us know a student, or have been that student, who is late to class because they are trying to find a teacher they trust to ask for a tampon. By tackling period poverty at our schools and universities, we’re helping students stay healthy and focused on their education.”