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The US House Just Passed a 'Menstrual Equality' Bill

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Access to safe menstrual hygiene is a right and necessity, not a luxury item. Global Citizen campaigns on the UN Global Goals including universal access to adequate sanitation and health care. You can take action here.

Tampons, pads, liners, cups, and sponges may soon become more affordable for people across the US.

Legislation allowing women to purchase menstrual hygiene products using health flexible spending accounts passed the House of Representatives last week and now goes to the Senate, reported USA Today.

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”The passage of my legislation is a major leap forward in our fight for menstrual equality,” Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) said in a statement. “Menstrual hygiene products are essential and necessary for women, and deserve to be items that are permitted to be purchased with health flexible spending account funds.”

Health flexible spending accounts permit individuals to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible health care expenses, noted the report. The money in these accounts is contributed from an individual’s paycheck.

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Meng authored the "Menstrual Equity for All Act" to help provide women and girls better access to menstrual hygiene products. Another bill she is working on seeks to improve the safety of such products.

Meng and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) have also requested that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) provide free menstrual hygiene products in all House bathrooms, noted The Hill.

Maloney has previously criticized the limitations of congressional funds uses over the fact that monies can be used for “executive tissue holders," "embellished letter openers" and "brass bookends,” but not tampons, as written in a tweet.

Meng has already successfully persuaded the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make feminine care products available to homeless assistance providers, and are provided for free to female inmates after Meng lobbied the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to The Hill.