Feminine Products and Protecting Women
Women cover more than 60% of the cost of contraception out of their own pocket.
Increasing the affordability and access to contraception will lower the total number of abortions in Florida
Women's and Reproductive Products
What We Can Do:
Take legal action to lower the costs of women's products
Take legal action to increase access to birth control
Place a cap on the price of Reproductive Products
With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, women’s rights are at risk. The original ruling gave women the right to terminate a pregnancy, but the new one leaves the decision up to the individual states, meaning they could ban abortion entirely. If states ban abortion, it could make access to contraceptives harder which helps protect women from having to get an abortion. Because many women living in poverty already lack access to menstrual products due to their high costs, this would only worsen the state of women’s healthcare. The Commissioner of Agriculture will take legal action to lower the costs of women’s products and increase access to birth control and other contraceptives.
Importance of Contraceptives
With abortion rights being at a risk, access to contraceptives is more important than ever right now. Sexually active women who don't want to get pregnant need access to birth control, but many women can’t afford effective contraceptives. Even when contraception is covered, women pay approximately 60% of the cost out of pocket. With contraceptives being unaffordable, many marginalized women may end up having unwanted pregnancies. If they live in a state with anti-abortion laws, they may be forced to birth a child they cannot afford to support.
Increasing access to contraceptives is necessary for the welfare of women as many of them may not have the right to choose whether or not they want to end their pregnancy. Lowering the costs of contraceptives like condoms and birth control would be an essential step in helping women have more control over what happens to their bodies.
Importance of Menstrual Products
There are several different types of menstrual products available to women including sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, menstrual discs, and period underwear. Having access to these different products is very important because some products may work for certain people and not for others. Also, people may need different products depending on the activity they are doing. For example, if they are going swimming or playing sports on their period, using a tampon is more convenient than wearing a sanitary pad as they do not hold up well in water. However, because using certain products like tampons and menstrual cups comes with the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), some people may prefer sanitary pads. Some of these products have become much more expensive, making access to them a lot harder for many women. The average price for a package of pads rose by nearly 8 percent from the beginning of 2020 to the end of May, while the price for a box of tampons rose by about 10 percent. Seeing as nearly 11.3 million low-income women in the United States could already not afford menstrual products in the past year, this price hike will just make things harder for those women. Menstrual products are necessary and being able to access different types of them is essential.
Lack of Access to Women’s Products Endangers Their Health
The lack of access to women’s products negatively affects millions of women in the United States. Seeing as wealthier women are probably able to travel to other states to get an abortion, the issue of banning abortion most affects marginalized women as they cannot afford to have this option. This can lead to these women risking their lives and having unsafe abortions, which kill 23,000 women each year according to WHO.
Marginalized women also have difficulty with affording menstrual products due to their high costs and are forced to use makeshift products which can have harmful impacts on their health. Since 500 million people in the United States lack access to these products, the well-being of many American women is at risk due to the difficulty in obtaining basic and necessary healthcare items. This is why increasing access to contraceptives and menstrual products is essential for the welfare of women.
So, What Can We Do?!
By Chapter 570 Section 07 of the Florida Statutes, the Commissioner of Agriculture has the power to investigate and fight for the marginalized women of Florida who are unable to afford these basic necessities, especially now more than ever. The rising costs of menstrual products are harming these women who already struggle to put food on their table. The statutes state that if “public health, safety, or welfare is endangered or is likely to be endangered by any consumer product or service, to commence legal proceedings in circuit court to enjoin the act or practice or the sale of the product or service and may seek appropriate relief on behalf of consumers.”  The Commissioner has the power to place a cap on the price of menstrual products since not having access to these products endangers the health and welfare of Floridian women. The Commissioner can also advocate for lower prices of contraceptives as those products help protect women from unwanted pregnancies and as a result from having to get an abortion. As it is the duty of the Agriculture Commissioner to keep consumers safe, it is critical for the Commissioner to be an advocate for the marginalized communities of Florida.