Ann Arbor becomes first US city to require free menstrual products in public restrooms
Violations of the ordinance, effective January 1, 2022, will result in a $100 fine, according to the law.
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor, who proposed the ordinance, said “this is necessary and far from over.”
“Access to these items is a matter of dignity, a human necessity and a right to health care,” Taylor said at a city council meeting on Monday.
The idea for this ordinance stemmed from a conversation Taylor had with a high school student in which she expressed concern that homeless people don’t have access to menstrual products, Taylor said. speak.
National nonprofit officials advocating increased access to menstrual products believe Ann Arbor is the first city in the United States to pass legislation mandating products beyond municipal-owned buildings .
Michela Bedard, executive director of PERIOD., a nonprofit that aims to end the stigma and high cost of menstruation, told CNN, “It’s entirely possible that there’s a very small town out there that has made this decision and they did it without fanfare. either meeting or helping with the advocacy. But certainly, this is the first major metropolis to make waves like this.”
Nancy Kramer, founder of Free The Tampon, an organization that promotes toilet equality for business leaders and policymakers, says the products will be made available at all public restrooms.
“It really gives anyone menstruating a sense of reassurance that they don’t currently have,” says Kramer. “And it just keeps us from having any potential levels of shame or humiliation.”
A long time coming
Advocates and organizations promoting cost reductions and the stigma surrounding menstrual products tell CNN momentum has built into what Bedard calls this “tide-changing” decision over the past few days. over the past year, as state and local governments have taken steps to increase access to these products.
“We hope that this will trickle in and that one day in our lifetime we will realize that these products need to be everywhere, to be accessible,” Bedard said.
At the federal level, menstrual equality organizers have seen both wins and losses in recent years.
“This is a crisis that has been completely ignored in our country – and it is about to expire,” Bedard said. “This will be normalized over the next few years and to address the systemic reasons for this we need to change this at the policy level.”