Things You Should Know About the Menstrual Equity for All Act
Did you know that this year Representative Grace Meng, of New York’s 6th congressional district, introduced to Congress the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2019? Odds are, this may be your first time hearing about this! The purpose of this bill is to increase the availability and affordability of menstrual hygiene products for individuals with limited access.
There are 7 sections that are included in this bill: (1) menstrual hygiene products for students, (2) menstrual hygiene products for incarcerated individuals and detainees, (3) menstrual hygiene products availability for homeless individuals under emergency food and shelter grant program, (4) menstrual hygiene products reimbursement from health flexible spending arrangements, (5) menstrual hygiene products covered by Medicaid, (6) menstrual hygiene products for employees and (7) menstrual hygiene products in federal buildings.
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, this bill is incredibly important! Menstrual health is a critical part of care for women and young girls everywhere and this bill acknowledges that. Unfortunately, this important bill has not yet been passed by Congress. There are some important things that you should know about the Menstrual Equity for All Act and some ways that you can help raise awareness and push congress to pass the bill.
Section 1 would make menstrual hygiene products available for elementary and secondary education students who need them. For incarcerated individuals and detainees, section 2 will make sure products are on demand and accessible at no cost. Section 3 ensures that the amount of products provided under grant programs to private, non-profit organizations and local governments may be used to provide sanitary napkins and other menstrual hygiene products. Section 4 would guarantee that amounts paid or incurred for menstrual hygiene products will be treated as a qualified medical expense eligible for reimbursement from a health flexible spending arrangement.
What about employees and employers? In section 6, it requires that each employer with no less than 100 employees provide menstrual hygiene products free of charge for employees of the employer. Lastly, section 7 would require that menstrual hygiene products be stocked in and available in federal buildings-- free of charge in each public restroom in the buildings.
So, how can you help? The first and easiest way to help raise awareness is to use your own voice to educate others about the importance of this bill. Use social media to create conversations and make people aware! Also, you can write letters to your representatives in the district you live in asking them to vote yes on the bill. Lastly, sign official petitions that you find in support of #ME4A.
With new knowledge comes new responsibilities, so we can all chip in to make sure the Menstrual Equity for All Act gets passed and that people all around you aware of the positive change it will make!
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