The Minnesota legislature is considering a bill that would require all public and charter schools to make menstrual products available in school bathrooms, including boys’ bathrooms.
The bill, House File 44, would do it this way: “A school district or charter school must provide students with free access to menstrual products. The products must be available in restrooms used by students in grades 4 through 12.”
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Rep. Dean Urdahl, Republican, proposed an amendment to clarify that menstrual products should be available in restrooms used by female students.
“This is all about practicality. I believe these products should most likely be available to those who would use them, girls. This change makes that more likely,” Urdahl said during the House Education Committee session.
MP Sandra Feist advocates the inclusion of menstrual products in boys’ toilets
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sandra Feist, Democratic-Farmer-Labor, argued against the change on “practical, financial, social and emotional” grounds.
“There are a lot of schools that are moving toward gender-neutral bathrooms, and if we add ‘female,’ we could become obsolete very quickly,” Feist said.
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“Secondly, not all menstruating students are female,” Feist continues. “We need to ensure that all students have access to these products. There are obviously fewer non-female menstruating students and therefore their use will be much less. That was actually factored into the cost of it.”
According to Feist, non-female menstruators “face a greater stigma and barrier when asking about these products.” She also claimed that many schools have already started stocking menstrual products in all bathrooms with no problem.
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Urdahl’s amendment failed and was described by someone who testified before the committee as “just another way to divide people”.
Representatives Feist and Urdahl did not immediately respond to comment