WebMD News Brief

Scotland Will Supply Period Products for Free

woman holding pads and tampons

Nov. 25, 2020 -- Scotland will be the first country to make tampons and sanitary pads available for free to all who need them. The vote passed Scotland’s parliament unanimously on Tuesday.

The measure aims to curb “period poverty,” which limits the lives of women who can’t afford supplies to manage their monthly menstrual cycles.

“We all agree that no one should have to worry about where their next tampon, pad or resuable is coming from,” said Monica Lennon, a member of Scotland’s parliament who led the campaign for the measure.

“Scotland won’t be the last country to consign period poverty to history-but we are the first,” read a post from the Scottish Labor Party on Twitter.

Two groups hit especially hard by the cost of menstrual supplies include students, who may miss school if they can’t afford supplies to care for themselves during their period, and people who are homeless.

In the U.S., 35 states also charge a “Pink Tax” or “Tampon Tax” on top of the cost of sanitary products, further increasing the cost to vulnerable individuals, according to the American Medical Women’s Association. In America, 25 million women live in poverty, and their menstrual products are not covered by food stamps.

In Scotland, the new policy follows a successful government program that provided free sanitary items to students, a move that was also adopted in Wales and England, according to The New York Times.

The bill requires the Scottish government to offer a “reasonable choice of different period products.” It also says that women should be able to get them with reasonable ease and privacy, saying women should be able to get the products delivered, rather than having to pick them up.

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Twitter: @scottishlabour, Nov. 24, 2020.
The New York Times: "Tackling ‘Period Poverty,’ Scotland Is 1st Nation to Make Sanitary Products Free."
The American Women’s Medical Association: "Period Poverty and What We Can Do About It."

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