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Scotland becomes first country to make period products free for all

Scotland is making history in public health as it becomes the first country in the world to make period products free to anyone who needs them. The Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill last week to ensure that menstrual products are free and available to anyone who menstruates. 

Introduced by Parliament member Monica Lennon, the bill aims to address period poverty among those disadvantaged by inadequate access to period products. The government is investing £24 million annually to make this service available for all.

The bill was initially introduced in February and last week’s vote will officially move it into law.

Scotland had already made significant strides towards eliminating period poverty when it made all menstrual products free and available in schools across the country in 2018. The cost of period products for a typical reproductive lifetime is $6,360 and a recent study found that half of the women surveyed had experienced period poverty. 

In a February debate on the bill, Parliament member Alison Johnstone said, “This is so often characterized as a women’s issue, but it is not. It is a social justice issue, an equalities issue, and a rights issue… Being financially penalized for a natural bodily function is not equitable or just.”

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