In Virginia, there are no laws or policies that ensure menstrual products are affordable and available for women who need them. Lack of access to these products can affect a woman’s ability to work, go to school, or participate in daily life with basic dignity.

​Currently, there is one remaing bill in the 2018 Virginia legislative session.  We encourage you to contact your state senator about this bill.  Follow our Facebook page for up-to-date information.

   HB83 Talking Points: Menstrual Supplies in Prisons

  • Women comprise the fastest growing population of the U.S. prison population.

  • Federal prisons are now required to provide menstrual supplies, but state prisons and regional jails are not required.

  • While the Department of Corrections does supply sanitary napkins at no charge to female inmates, tampons are only available for sale through commissaries with no regulation on how much can be charged.

  • Many women have medical conditions that result in heavy, prolonged periods. The lack of regulation means that many women cannot select the appropriate item needed for their bodies and medical needs.

  • With little standard regulation, access to these items can vary from facility to facility.

  • Because of safety concerns, many facilities no longer allow these items to be donated from outside sources.

  • Infrequent changing of tampons or pads can lead to infection, stained clothing, and hygiene issues. It is a necessity for the basic dignity of women.
While HB24 did not make it out of Appropriations this year, it did made it farther in the legislative process than similar bills have in the past.  HR NOW will continue to advocate for bills similar to HR24 in the future. 

  HB24 Talking Points: Sales Tax on Menstrual Supplies

  • Tampons and pads are classified as toilet articles and have a 6% tax rate. While the tax code considers these as non-medical items, the FDA classifies them as “medical devices.”

  • Poverty is inextricably linked to gender. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women are 35 percent more likely to be poor than men. Even as the poverty rate in the U.S. declined in 2016, more than 16 million women live in poverty.  The poverty rate for female-headed families is twice that of male-headed families.

  • Tampons and pads cannot be purchased with SNAP, Medicaid, or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) even though women are more likely than men to receive federal assistance such as SNAP and Medicaid.

  • Many women have medical conditions that result in heavy, prolonged periods.

  • Gender-based pricing results in women paying on average $1,300 more than men every year. This gap is even more significant considering that women earn less than men in wages.

  • Seven states (Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) have already passed legislation to exempt menstrual supplies from sales and use tax.