The Unequal Price of Periods

Menstrual Equity in the United States

Document Date: November 6, 2019

Access to menstrual products is a dignity and equity issue, but every day people across the United States are unable to access the menstrual products they need. Local, state, and federal government policies cause or exacerbate inequitable access by imposing sales taxes on menstrual products, refusing to provide products in institutions of incarceration such as prisons and jails, exempting menstrual products from public health benefits programs, and not making products uniformly available in public schools and homeless shelters.

This issue brief from the ACLU and Period Equity provides an overview of the issue of menstrual equity in the U.S. It demonstrates the inequities of access to menstrual products, specifically for those living in poverty and those who are incarcerated, and documents the damaging medical and emotional consequences of this lack of access. The brief also reviews current law, including a detailed state-by-state accounting of menstrual equity legislation. Lastly, the brief provides recommendations for improving menstrual equity in the U.S. This brief is part of a broader effort from the ACLU and Period Equity to advance menstrual equity legislation. For specific advocacy tools and resources, see the ACLU and Period Equity’s Menstrual Equity Toolkit.

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