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NYC Joins ‘Free the Tampon,’ Handing Them Out in Schools, Jails

  • The law would affect about 323,000 in schools and shelters
  • The stigma causes some girls to skip school, students say
Energizer Holdings Inc. Playtex brand tampons sit on display in a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois, on April 30, 2014.

Energizer Holdings Inc. Playtex brand tampons sit on display in a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois, on April 30, 2014.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

On the 200-year-old steps of New York’s august, columned City Hall, lawmakers gathered a crowd and shouted "Tampons!" "Panty liners!" "Periods!" in a cheer for demystifying menstruation. 

The rally, organized by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, came moments before a unanimous vote last week to provide unfettered access to tampons and sanitary pads in schools, foster homes, jails and homeless shelters. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who ran for office with a vow to make the city more affordable, said he intends to sign the bills soon. New York has become the first U.S. city to enlist in the fast-growing worldwide movement to “free the tampon.”