Sacramento – Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) sent the groundbreaking Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 to the Governor for signature. Assembly Bill 367 would increase access to menstrual products and promotes menstrual equity in school settings by providing free access to menstrual products for all Californians.
Specifically, the bill would require all schools maintaining grades 6-12, community colleges, college campuses (CSU/UC) to stock its public restrooms with free menstrual products.
“Our biology doesn’t always send an advanced warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we need to stop whatever we’re doing and deal with a period. Often periods arrive at inconvenient times. They can surprise us during an important midterm, while playing with our children at a park, sitting in a lobby waiting to interview for a job, shopping at the grocery store, or even standing on the Assembly Floor presenting an important piece of legislation. Having convenient and free access to these products means our period won’t prevent us from being productive members of society, and would alleviate the anxiety of trying to find a product when out in public,” said Assemblymember Garcia.
During Assemblymember Garcia’s tenure in the California State legislature, as the self-proclaimed Period
Princess, she has been and continues to be a vocal champion and advocate of period dignity policies. In 2017, the Assemblymember successfully passed and had legislation signed into law to ensure low-income schools in disadvantaged communities provide students with free menstrual products.
In addition, Assemblymember Garcia led the successful effort to repeal the tax charged on menstrual health products. This effort started an international movement to rectify the discriminatory taxation of menstrual products, which cost Californians born with a uterus over $20 million annually. Assemblymember Garcia is committed to continue the fight to ensure that having a uterus is no longer stigmatized by misunderstanding, bias, or fear.
AB 367 was inspired by the trail blazing actions of Scotland, where Parliament adopted The Period Products (Free Provision) on November 24, 2020. Scotland’s new law declared access to menstrual products as a human right and requires all designated public places to provide menstrual products free of charge to anyone who needs them.
“Last year, Scotland showed the world this pioneering policy can be passed, with bipartisan support, and become law. I propose we build upon California’s prior menstrual equity laws by declaring that access to menstrual products is a human right and expand access. Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public bathrooms, so should menstrual products. It is time we recognize and respond to the biology of half the population by prioritizing free access to menstrual products, and eliminating all barriers to them,” stated Assemblymember Garcia.
“The availability of menstrual products is critical to ensuring the health, dignity, and full participation of every Californian. With the Senate’s vote today, AB 367 brings us one step closer to ensuring that all California students have equal access to education and are empowered to reach their full potential, irrespective of gender or economic status,” said Jennifer Chou, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California.
“As a student raised in California’s public education system, I have had multiple experiences where a lack of direct access to menstrual products has affected my potential to attend school and to perform at the best of my ability. AB 367 will advance menstrual equity and improve the health and safety of students who menstruate. It’s time that California takes this crucial step to provide menstruators with more equal access to education,” said Catherine Xu, California Association of Student Councils,” said Catherine Xu, Governmental Affairs Policy Director, California Association of Student Councils.
Numerous groups pledged its support of the bill and praised Assemblymember Garcia’s effort to bring
attention to the topic of menstrual equity. Organizations supporting the bill include the student-run California Association of Student Councils, ACLU of California, Black Women for Wellness, IGNITE, Free the Period, The Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy, Division of Equity and Social Justice, Alliance for Girls, Alliance for Period Supplies, PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement, and the National Diaper Bank Network. The coalition of support shared the following comments regarding Assemblymember Garcia’s Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021.
AB 367 received wide bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate, the bill is now off to the Governor for signature.
Press Release from Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia