Campus News

Student organization pushes for menstrual products, reproductive rights

Restrooms in the Student Activity Center will likely have free menstrual products at the start of next week.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

A UW-Madison student organization is continuing its efforts to make menstrual products more accessible on campus, while also expanding its outreach into reproductive rights advocacy.

According to Jordan Madden, a co-founder of the Accessible Reproductive Healthcare Initiative, his organization was a major catalyst for the recent pilot program that aims to provide free feminine hygiene products for students on campus.

After ARHI members met with Vice Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf and other administrators to discuss the needs of students on campus, the group had a meeting with the Associated Students of Madison to advance their goal of providing free menstrual products, according to Madden.

“[The initiative to provide reproductive resources] has been ours for a while,” Madden said. “We want to make sure ARHI receives credit for their role in this.”

The organization has since expanded its advocacy for reproductive health rights, targeting legislative policy.

“In past years and since the election, there has been an assault on the right to reproductive care and legislative pressure to create strict laws restricting the right to these services [such as abortion],” Madden said. “Ultimately, I want to engage students in Madison with state and federal legislature to mobilize against attacks on reproductive health rights.”

ARHI has been working with state Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, on a bill to make menstrual products tax exempt. Additionally, the organization hopes to direct more attention towards access to abortion and resources for gender nonconforming students.

Madden said that as the group advocates for a broader range of issues, they have had to bring in more members with different areas of expertise.

“We now have a bunch of people who are very knowledgeable on gender and trans issues,” Madden said.

ARHI has created a petition for students demanding UW-Madison offer free menstrual products on campus.

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