The Minnesota Legislature is considering a bill that would require all public and charter schools to make menstrual products available in school bathrooms, including boys’ bathrooms.
The bill, House File 44, would make it so “A school district or charter school must provide students access to menstrual products at no charge. The products must be available in restrooms used by students in grades 4 to 12.”
Rep. Dean Urdahl, Republican, proposed an amendment to clarify that the menstrual products should be available in restrooms used by female students.
“This is just about practicality. I believe that these products should be most available to those that would use them, girls. This amendment makes that more likely,” Urdahl said during the House Education Committee meeting.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sandra Feist, Democratic-Farmer-Labor, argued in opposition to the amendment on “practical, financial, social, and emotional” grounds.
“There are a lot of schools that are moving towards gender-neutral bathrooms, and if we add ‘female,’ we might become obsolete very quickly,” Feist said.
“Second, not all students who menstruate are female,” Feist continued. “We need to make sure all students have access to these products. There are obviously less non-female menstruating students and therefore their usage will be much lower. That was actually calculated into the cost of this.”
According to Feist, non-female menstruators “face a greater stigma and barrier to asking for these products.” She also claimed many schools have already started stocking menstrual products in all bathrooms without issue.
Urdahl’s amendment failed to pass and was called “just another way to divide people” by someone who testified before the committee.
Representatives Feist and Urdahl did not immediately respond for comment