SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans receiving aid through federal and state food assistance programs could use their benefits to purchase feminine hygiene products under legislation led by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed out of committee Tuesday.
“Period poverty is a public health crisis that requires immediate action,” Villa said. “Women of all ages deserve to live their lives to the fullest, but that is often not possible, as the cost of menstrual hygiene products puts them out of reach for many members in our community.”
Villa’s measure would require the Department of Human Services to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services permitting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefit recipients to use their benefits to purchase diapers or menstrual hygiene products.
“Menstrual hygiene products are as essential to a woman’s well-being as food and water, yet benefits programs do not cover these necessary health care items,” Villa said. “It’s time to make a change to help low-income women and women experiencing homelessness afford period products.”
House Bill 155 passed the Senate Health Committee and now goes to the full Senate.