New York City Bill to Call for Free Tampons in Public School Restrooms, Shelters and Jails
New York City Council members are joining a growing national movement to improve access to feminine hygiene products, and on Tuesday will introduce proposals for free tampons and pads in city public school restrooms and homeless shelters, and easier access at correctional facilities.
纽约市议会(New York City Council)的一些议员正在加入改善女性卫生用品获取方式的全国性运动。周二，他们将提出议案，要求为该市公立学校卫生间和流浪者收容所免费提供卫生棉条和卫生巾，要求管教所更便利地提供此类用品。
“This has been so taboo for so long, that no one even thought about it,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who led local efforts with a pilot project providing free pads and tampons at a high school in Queens that is being expanded to include 25 schools. “It’s just been something that it has never been O.K. to talk about.”
In addition, Ms. Ferreras-Copeland, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and the Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, all Democrats, will introduce a resolution calling on the State Legislature to stop taxing sanitary products. The state does not tax groceries, prescription drugs or condoms, but it does tax tampons and sanitary pads. This month, the New York State Assembly passed a bill eliminating sales tax on tampons and pads, but the measure has yet to pass the Senate.
另外，费雷拉-科普兰、议员达尼斯·罗德里格斯(Ydanis Rodriguez)和议长梅利莎·马克-维夫里托(Melissa Mark-Viverito)将提出一项决议，呼吁州议会停止对卫生用品收税（他们三位都是民主党）。纽约州不对生活用品、处方药和保险套收税，但是对卫生棉条和卫生巾收税。本月，纽约州众议院(New York State Assembly)通过了取消卫生棉条和卫生巾销售税的法案，不过该法案尚需经参议院通过。
The proposals by the council members are the latest in a series of efforts around the world that some supporters call “menstrual equity” — a movement that calls for feminine hygiene products to be treated the same as toilet paper and other necessities that are typically not taxed or are supplied free in public restrooms. Chicago rescinded city taxes on sanitary products this month, California lawmakers are pushing for an end to tampon taxes, and Canada scrapped the taxes last year. Efforts to make sanitary products available free in public facilities are underway in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Ms. Ferreras-Copeland said she could foresee making free menstrual products available in the city’s public hospitals, parks and recreational centers, and at youth and community programs.
A bill requiring the New York City Correction Department to provide all female inmates with pads or tampons “immediately” upon their request, and at the facility’s expense, is meant to improve the current way of allocating sanitary products, which is done according to an arcane formula that allots 144 pads a week to every 50 inmates, council members said in interviews.
还有一项提案要求纽约市管教局(New York City Correction Department)“立刻”满足所有女性监犯随时提出的卫生巾或卫生棉条需求，费用由管教局承担。这项提案的目的是改善目前分配卫生用品的做法。议员们在接受采访时说，目前的做法是，根据一个巨复杂的公式，每周向每50名监犯分配144个卫生巾。
That works out to about 12 pads per woman per cycle, which may not be sufficient, the council members said. If a woman needs more than that, she may request them or buy them at her own expense at the commissary. The bill calls for eliminating the formula and providing either pads or tampons as requested.
Ms. Ferreras-Copeland called the formula “ridiculous,” and said that every woman had different needs. “You don’t ration toilet paper or ask for permission for more toilet paper,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to for these products.”
The estimated cost to the city was expected to top $5 million a year, most of that for the school system, according to the Council’s finance division. According to one estimate by the advocacy organization Free the Tampons, the annual cost of providing tampons and pads at restrooms in schools and businesses will be less than $5 a year per woman or girl.
据纽约市议会财务部的估算，这个项目每年最多花费500万美元，大多花在学校上。据支持这项提案的组织Free the Tampons估算，在学校和公司的卫生间提供卫生棉条和卫生巾的费用为每个女人或女孩每年不到5美元。
The expanded pilot program Ms. Ferreras-Copeland announced last week to install tampon and pad dispensers in 25 public middle and high schools was estimated to cost $160,000 for a year, including the cost of replenishing the supply of products, according to Ms. Ferreras-Copeland’s office.
Women “cannot participate in society without some sort of menstrual product,” said Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a writer and lawyer from Maplewood, N.J., who is a leading advocate for lifting tampon taxes and providing sanitary supplies in public restrooms and schools and coined the term “menstrual equity.” “As a society, we have an interest in ensuring that girls don’t fall behind in school and women aren’t unproductive at their jobs simply because they can’t afford these products,” she said.
This year, Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of Queens, persuaded officials who oversee the Federal Emergency Management Agency to allow its homeless assistance funds to cover feminine hygiene products, after she noticed the grants could not be used to buy sanitary pads even though they cover other basic necessities such as toothpaste and diapers. Sanitary products will be added to the list of allowable purchases beginning in April.
今年，皇后区民主党人、众议院议员孟昭文(Grace Meng)说服联邦紧急措施署(Federal Emergency Management Agency)的官员们允许流浪汉救助金被用于购买女性卫生用品。之前，她发现这些救助金不能用于购买卫生巾，但是可以购买牙膏和纸尿裤等其他基本生活必需品。从4月份起，卫生用品将被加入可购买产品名单。
Ms. Meng has also introduced legislation that would allow employees to use flexible spending account funds to buy feminine hygiene products. Right now the money can be used to cover certain medical items like prescription eyeglasses and bandages, but not sanitary pads or tampons.