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Shapiro Administration Applauds House’s Bipartisan Passage of Bill to Make Free Menstrual Hygiene Products Available for Students


Harrisburg, PA - The Shapiro Administration today applauded the bipartisan passage of House Bill 851, which would make menstrual hygiene products available at no cost in Pennsylvania schools so students can have peace of mind to focus on academic learning, school attendance, and their health. 

Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal calls for $3 million to provide menstrual hygiene products in schools to help close a gap in women’s health care that too often hurts low-income girls and young women of color. The funding will enable schools to provide access to period products at no cost to students and complements the efforts undertaken by the Shapiro Administration to improve health equity in Pennsylvania.

“There are girls in Pennsylvania missing school because they don't have access to period products,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “That's unfair – that's why our First Lady has advocated for this issue and I included it in my budget proposal. The bipartisan House bill providing free tampons and pads to schools is a big step forward. Now let's get it to my desk.”

“Pennsylvania’s students have more important things to worry about while at school than being able to afford, or find, menstrual hygiene products when they need them. All of us know the importance of a good education and how transformative it can be. But, too often, students in Pennsylvania, and around the country, miss class because of their periods,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “Providing menstrual hygiene products for students will positively impact public health in Pennsylvania.”

“Students can’t focus on learning if they’re preoccupied with getting the care products they need to feel healthy and comfortable, and schools should be able to provide those products to learners without incurring financial burden,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “This is simply good health policy—increasing access to necessary products across the board so students can focus on math, music, and medieval history instead of menstruation.”

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Darisha Parker and Carol Hill-Evans, was approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on June 4, 2024; the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“In 2021, two in five people struggled to purchase period products, an increase of 35% from 2018. Individuals that cannot afford period products can be found using newspapers, rags, and socks instead of pads, pantiliners, or tampons, leading to health problems. Further, period poverty disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx communities: nearly a quarter of menstruating individuals within these communities struggled to afford period products in 2021,” said Representatives Parker and Hill-Evans in the bill’s cosponsorship memo. “People who menstruate should not have to miss work, school, or other life events due to not having access to period products. More than half of the world’s population are menstruating individuals and it is time that period poverty comes to the forefront of discussion.”

Read more about the Governor’s budget proposal.


Casey Smith, PDE,
Mark O’Neill, DOH,

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