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Period Action Day returns to address medical necessities

Previously published in the Journal Gazette (Ft. Wayne) on Jan 4, 2023

If you had $10 to cover period supplies this month, could you do it? For one person? For your household? Chances are, no.

Between corporate increases and inflation, prices have hiked 8% to 10% this past year on pads and tampons, respectively. This comes after they jumped significantly in 2021.

Programs such as WIC or SNAP do not include medically necessary period products.

What could you give up to make that purchase for the month?

Period poverty is a very real, very big issue here in Indiana. The inability to afford period products affects people getting to work and school.

Nearly a quarter of the period-having population has said they struggle to afford these basic medical necessities, and 4 out of 5 students say they have missed instructional time because of not having the supplies they need. They have resorted to unsuccessful temporary solutions to get themselves to class. Some are choosing options that endanger their health by using products longer than is safe, thus risking infection.

So what do we do when kids are making thousands of visits to the nurses for help in our school districts? How do we ensure unhoused people have access to disposable options to stay safe and healthy? How can we make certain that incarcerated people have the dignity and period equity to have access to enough essential products they need?

Fighting to repeal the unjust taxation of period products in Indiana might seem like a small step when facing such a solid problem, but it's an important step. Advocating for Hoosiers in the Statehouse is critical.

Half the population spends more than half our lives bleeding for days every month (and often much more for some). Educating, normalizing, addressing the issue of period poverty helps us move the conversation forward.

Madvoters Indiana is hosting its second Period Action Day at the Statehouse Jan. 10 with state Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, introducing a new bill to stop taxation of period products.

Knowing the best way to address period poverty in the community is to roll up our sleeves, Fort Wayne residents from Women United For Progress Allen County and Northeast Indiana NOW are marking the day by hosting their first Period Party as well. This includes a night of educating, letter writing and fundraising for period products to support Fort Wayne Community Schools students.

We have excellent examples of what could be possible by watching countries such as Scotland and states including Illinois, Utah, Arizona and Virginia. All are finding ways to provide products for schools, prisons, homeless shelters and others needing them.

Real action. Helping folks remain in the workforce and attend school consistently. Big things are possible if we ask our legislators to address real issues affecting Hoosiers.

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