Parker and Hill-Evans host menstrual equity news conference

Both lawmakers urged Senate to consider menstrual equity legislation

State Reps. Darisha Parker and Carol Hill-Evans stood again with Speaker Joanna McClinton, menstrual health professionals and Pennsylvania students to spread awareness about period poverty and advocate for the Senate to pass legislation to help this important issue.

Parker and Hill-Evans authored legislation, H.Bs. 850 and 851, to make period products more accessible for low-income women.

“We need to speak about periods bluntly,” Parker said. “No more euphemisms or hiding tampons in our sleeves to use the restroom.

“It’s crazy that this natural biological process – a beautiful one that has the power to create life is still considered a taboo subject,” Parker continued. “It’s not just a financial issue but barriers to period products can lead to substantial health issues for women and perpetuate a cycle of poverty that can be impossible to escape from.”

The lawmakers said that H.B. 850 would allow for women who participate in the SNAP or WIC program to purchase expensive period products using these programs, which Parker said would help empower women to take charge over their own bodies.

“Tampons and pads aren’t a luxury for us,” Parker said. “We don’t choose to participate in our periods every month, these are products we need to preserve our dignity and participate in all of life’s important milestones.”

House Bill 851 would establish a grant program for schools to purchase period products to distribute to students in need.

“The truth we need to broadcast loudly and often is that having a period isn’t shameful or unclean, and it’s not something you should feel obligated to hide,” Hill-Evans said. “When we talk about menstrual health and acceptance, what we are ultimately talking about is our continued fight for empowerment as women.”

“I was once that little girl in eighth grade who got her first period during a school assembly,” said Parker as she spoke about the need for this legislation. “There were no products available for me to use and I want to prevent other young girls from having to use paper towels, socks and even newspapers as period products.

“It’s time we empower women and girls in Pennsylvania, instead of forcing them to speak in whispers about a completely natural biological process,” Parker finished. “Let’s get this done.”