Menstrual products are a necessity – an essential part of caring for personal health for all menstruating individuals. Non-menstruating people go into a bathroom expecting their basic bodily needs will be met (toilet, toilet paper, soap, water etc.) – this is not the case for people who are menstruating.
The I AM bill would provide access to free menstrual products to all menstruating individuals in prisons, homeless shelters and public schools from 6th-12th grade. The bill also contains language to ensure the products are truly accessible without stigmatizing the individual seeking them.
The ‘I AM bill’ is inspired by a bill New York City passed in 2016 ensuring menstrual products are free in public schools, prisons and shelters. We know passing this legislation is possible.
Mass NOW convened the Massachusetts Menstrual Equity Coalition in March, and since then have grown to include over 40 organizations in support of the ‘I AM bill.” Cambridge Public Schools started their pilot program in 2016, Somerville, Brookline & Boston have followed suit.
We have models of best practices for implementation in schools, shelters & prisons right here in Massachusetts, and if passed the ‘I AM bill’ would ensure this right statewide. With your voice, addressing period poverty in Massachusetts is possible.
No one should have to choose between food, a roof over their head, their education, and access to menstrual products. Public Policy does not address the needs of menstruating people. Massachusetts has the opportunity to change that.
The I AM bill was voted favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Health in December 2019. Join us at our first ever lobby day to hear from menstrual activists and let your legislators know: we want the I AM bill passed this session!