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Mayor Signs Legislation Making Menstrual Products Free and Available at Schools, Shelters and Prisons


July 14, 2016 Staff Report

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a package of legislation yesterday that will increase access to feminine hygiene products in City facilities.

The legislation, sponsored by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, guarantees access to menstrual products for all female Department of Correction inmates; persons residing in a City shelter and youth under the care of certain Children’s Services facilities; and public school students.

“There should be no stigma around something as fundamental as menstruation,” de Blasio said. “These laws recognize that feminine hygiene products are a necessity – not a luxury.”

Ferreras-Copeland has been championing tampon and pad access in the City for months.

The first free tampon dispenser was installed at the High School for Arts and Business (105-25 Horace Harding Expressway North) in September.

Following the successful installation at that school, free tampon dispensers were installed in 25 public schools scattered throughout Queens and the Bronx in March.

Later that month, Ferreras-Copeland and Mark-Viverito sponsored the bills to bring these products to all schools, as well as shelters and jails.

“Every young person should have their essential needs met in order to do well in school, and that includes having unfettered access to menstrual hygiene products,” Ferreras-Copeland said.

De Blasio agreed.

“Students should be able to concentrate on their studies, New Yorkers in shelter should be able to focus on rebuilding their lives, and women in our Correction Department should be able to work toward rehabilitation and release without the indignity of inadequate access to tampons and pads,” he said.

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