AURORA, Ill. – A bill that would allow some public benefit recipients to purchase feminine hygiene products with their respective benefits introduced by state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, recently passed unanimously out of the Illinois House of Representatives and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
“Feminine hygiene products are not optional luxuries that most women can neglect to use, but unfortunately many low income women find themselves in situations where they cannot afford these products, which could result in very serious health concerns,” said Hernandez. “I am working to ensure that all women have access to feminine hygiene and menstrual products, no matter their income.”
Hernandez introduced House Bill 155, which would allow recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infant, and Children program (WIC) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) to use their benefits to purchase feminine hygiene products, including tampons, sanitary napkins and feminine wipes.
Addressing menstrual inequalities has been a top priority of Hernandez’s throughout her time in office. In addition to passing House Bill 155 with bipartisan support, Hernandez also brought forward legislation that would require schools to provide menstrual products in bathrooms for students. She has also hosted a handful of local events about this issue including menstrual equality town hall events and feminine hygiene product donation drives to help support local women’s shelters.
“Feminine hygiene products are necessities that many low income women lack, and they should not have to choose between buying food or other goods and affording these products,” said Hernandez. “Denying access to feminine hygiene products to anyone who needs them is denying a basic human right, and we must continue to work on this issue to ensure all women have access to feminine products.”