State Rep. Otten Hosts Period Products Drive, Highlights Menstrual Equity

Otten to host Period Products DriveSubmitted Image

EXTON, PAState Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, announced a Period Products Drive at her legislative district office to support local organizations in need. The drive runs through Friday, June 28, at 631 N. Pottstown Pike in Exton.

Donations of new, unopened pads and tampons can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout June.

Otten aims to raise awareness about period poverty as the General Assembly considers new legislation. Period poverty refers to the inability to afford necessary menstrual products. This issue affects one in four women and girls in Pennsylvania, impacting their ability to attend school, work, and participate fully in society.

“Pads and tampons are not luxury items; they are necessities,” said Otten. “Period poverty isn’t just someone else’s problem – it’s happening right here in Pennsylvania.”

The lack of access to menstrual products can force students to miss school days, turning this into an equity issue. Since her first term in 2019, Otten has prioritized addressing period poverty. She initially introduced legislation to provide free menstrual products in public school bathrooms for grades 6 through 12. The bill, now H.B. 799, has been reintroduced in each legislative session.

Otten, a member of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus, recently cosponsored H.B. 851. This bill, introduced by state Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Philadelphia, establishes a grant program for public schools to provide menstrual products. It passed the House with bipartisan support on June 4.

“We have made real progress since 2019,” Otten said. “With Governor Shapiro’s budget advocating for menstrual equity, we have a chance to ensure dignity and equity for half our population.”

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Otten emphasized the importance of providing these basic supplies in schools, akin to essentials such as toilet paper and soap. As the state budget discussions continue, she urges the inclusion of funding for menstrual hygiene products to foster an equitable environment for all students.

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