On Oct. 19, Salt Lake City celebrated the first National Period Day by hosting a rally at the Utah State Capitol to make a stand for women’s health.
Men, women, and students gathered to listen to speakers voice their support of women’s rights to basic hygiene needs. Emily Bell McCormick, event organizer and founder of The Policy Project, reviewed the policies that the group is presenting to Utah lawmakers.
“One, we are asking that menstrual products be reclassified as medically necessary. To allow these products to be purchased with health savings accounts, Medicaid and other pre-tax health plans,” McCormick stated. This is keeping in mind that things like sunscreen are considered medically necessary, but pads and tampons are not.
“Two, we are asking that tampons be freely available in public schools. Three, we are asking legislators that menstrual products be exempt from sales tax,” she continued. “These are simple steps in the right direction, and we need our lawmakers to understand this issue.”
Salt Lake City Council members agree and want to make these policies a possibility, they want to get the conversation going about the menstrual poverty in this state and find a way to help.
In June, the women on the Salt Lake City Council initially proposed $10,000 in funding for menstrual products in city-owned buildings such as City Hall, public libraries, office buildings and the Salt Lake City International Airport. The rest of the City Council members believed in this need so much they raised the proposed amount to $20,000. As a result, community members can now find free menstrual products in all of these Salt Lake City buildings.
Menstrual products are basic hygiene and basic healthcare. Salt Lake City representatives are hopeful that other cities and counties in Utah will follow in their footsteps and fill the gap, while we wait for the #TamponTax to end and make these basic menstrual hygiene needs readily available for all of those in need.