Menstruation Equity for All Ohio

Menstruation Equity for All Ohio

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Za Unitt started this petition to Columbus Ohio City Council

We are calling upon your support and commitment to act on behalf of our fellow Ohioans to end period poverty and to become the hallmark of menstruation equity here in the U.S.

We propose an adoption of bill H.R.1882, Menstruation Equity for All Act to be used as a template with amendments that include protective language from toxic chemicals and to eliminate gendered speech from the bill in order to insure safety of access to all who menstruate within your district.

My name is Za Unitt. My business partner Julia O'Keefe and I began a small entertainment company back in 2018 with the purpose of educating our neighbors and local businesses about Period Poverty and to create support for those in need. In 2020 we became an officially recognized nonprofit with our Red Tent Revival.

In 2018, The US House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) which would have helped to end the pink tax by including menstrual products as FSA- and HSA-approved items, but it never reached a Senate vote.

The pink tax is a term used to describe the taxing of period products as luxury items which is still added in 31 U.S. States, making period products even less affordable for the people in need.

Before Covid_19, 25 million people were living below the poverty level without consistent access to period products and those numbers have continued to grow as this pandemic lingers on.

Through our work in the community, help from our volunteers and with the support and commitment from our Representatives, we were able to end the “Pink Tax” in Ohio and to donate over 10,000 menstruation supplies to Central Ohioans in need by 2020.P

Precedent was set when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act passed on Mar. 27th. Menstrual products are listed as eligible items covered by HSAs and FSAs. The bill also allows anyone with HSA or FSA funds to file for reimbursement of menstrual products purchased in 2020.

This marked a major step forward for menstruation equity and a turning point in our conversations. Our representatives have shown us they are aware of the devastating consequences of period stigma and the shameful history of an extra taxation on citizens who experience a menses. We no longer need to *show that period poverty is real... We just need our representatives to do something about it.

Menstruation Equity has become more mainstream as countries from around the world join in the movement to abolish these discriminatory practices.

In 2004 Kenya was the first country to abolish sales tax for menstrual products. Since then Scotland, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and more countries are moving to not only eliminate the pink tax but also provide menstruation supplies in their public bathrooms.

We believe it is time for Ohio to join the Period Positive Movement and create a bill that will promote and insure menstruation equity and access for all.

We propose the use of H.R.1882, Menstrual Equity For All Act 2019 as a template with the following amendments applied:

Sec. 8 subsection b(3) COVERED RESTROOM.—The term “covered restroom” means each restroom in a covered public building except for a restroom designated solely for use by men.

CHANGED to Include ALL Public Bathrooms. Not all women bleed and not everyone who bleeds identify as women. We have a responsibility to our community to insure proper language in all Acts which promote Equality.
HR1882 Amendment to Sec. 8 subsection b(4) *

Sec. 8 subsection b(4) MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS. The term “menstrual hygiene products” means sanitary napkins and tampons. All items must conform to applicable industry standards.

CHANGED to Nontoxic, Organic/Biodegradable menstruation products only.

Unfortunately, "industry standards" do not take into consideration the 2.8 billion tampon applicators and plastics from menstruation supplies that end up in North American landfills every year. We cannot hope to solve one issue while perpetuating another. Our planet and fellow human beings deserve dignity and regard. There needs to be standards that stipulate only non-toxic and biodegradable menstruation supplies can be purchased by cities and states for public bathrooms.
Thank you for your time and attention.

 


Julia OKeefe and Za Unitt
Tickles and Pokes LLC.
Red Tent Revival 501c4
Central Ohio's Period Positive Movement

www.ticklesandpokes.com




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