Sen. Karina Villa

SPRINGFIELD – Feminine hygiene products could be purchased with federal and state food assistance program benefits under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Thursday.

“Having access to feminine hygiene products should be a right, not a privilege,” Villa said. “Federal and state benefits need to cover these essential health care items for those who can’t afford them.”

Villa’s measure would require the Department of Human Services to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service permitting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefit recipients to use their benefits to purchase diapers and menstrual hygiene products.

“Expanding the use of benefits to cover feminine hygiene products will help combat period poverty across our state,” Villa said. “Women should be able to complete everyday activities without having to worry about not being able to leave home because they can’t afford feminine hygiene products.”

House Bill 155 passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0.