'It's heartbreaking': Idaho Republican women vote against providing girls free tampons
Idaho Republican women don't believe girls in schools should have access to free tampons, The Daily Beast reports.
Founder of nonprofit advocacy organization, the Idaho Period Project, Avrey Hendrix — who is also a mother of four — approached Idaho State GOP Rep. Rod Furniss last month, asking if he'd be "interested" in sponsoring legislation that supports access to free menstrual products.
The congressman obliged, along with State Rep. Lori McCann (R), who is his co-sponsor.
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However, 10 women lawmakers, who are all Republicans, blocked the legislation from passing, according to The Daily Beast.
"It's so shocking because they know what it’s like to go into the bathroom and not have a tampon," Hendrix said.
According to The Daily Beast, Furniss said to his colleagues on the House floor Thursday, "Boys and girls have two Ps: peeing and pooping." He continued, "We know that the proper role of government is to cover the two Ps. Well, surprise, we just figured out [in] 2023, that girls have three Ps: They have peeing and pooping, and period."
Then the congressman then asserted, "Now we can hold the first two Ps, peeing and pooping. We can take care of that. But the third P, the girls don’t have a muscle down there. When that happens, it happens. It’s an emergency every time that happens. It's a basic biological function. Is the proper role of government to cover a basic biological function? I submit to you that it is."
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According to HuffPost, House Bill 313 "would have required that public and public charter schools provide students with free tampons, sanitary napkins and other menstrual products."
The Idaho Stateman reports, prior to the bill's rejection, Furniss said, "Today is a step to preserve womanhood, to give it a chance to start right, to not be embarrassed or feel alienated or ashamed, or to feel like they need to stay home from school due to period poverty."
GOP Rep. Heather Scott disagreed, along with her Republican colleague, Rep. Barbara Ehardt, who referred to the phrase "period poverty" as a "woke term."
Scott said, "This bill is a very liberal policy, and it's really turning Idaho into a bigger nanny state than ever. It's embarrassing not only because of the topic but because of the actual policy itself. So you don't have to be a woman to understand the absurdity of this policy. And you don’t have to feel that you’re insensitive to not address this."
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Scott proceeded to ask, "What's gonna be next? Because, we have what? Toilet paper. We have paper towels. And the good gentleman says, 'Well, they can't help it, the women can't help having their periods.'"
But the congresswoman did not stop there with her sarcasm. "Well, what about sweat?" she asked. "We can't help but sweat. So are the schools now going to be providing deodorant for these kids?"
The Daily Beast reports:
Hendrix testified, citing a survey that found 75 percent of the girls in eighth grade and above had missed class and as much as a whole school day because menstrual products were not immediately available. She further noted the results of State of the Period 2021, a national study that found nearly a quarter of female students had difficulty affording menstrual items. She headed home to Rigby feeling the simple truth was on her side.
"It's heartbreaking," Hendrix said.
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The Daily Beast's full report is available at this link. HuffPost's report is here. The Idaho Statesman's report is here.
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