CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation making feminine hygiene products more accessible to low-income women and girls.

He said the pandemic has underscored the need for them.

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“Given the high price of menstrual products, such as pads and tampons, it’s no wonder that many women living below the poverty line have had to sacrifice their personal health and hygiene in order to afford food and other basic necessities,” Pritzker said. “Turning to socks and toilet paper to manage their menstrual cycle.”

The governor added “it’s a tragic situation that increases their risk of infection and limits their ability to live their fullest lives.”

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The bills signed Thursday morning make free hygiene products available in homeless shelters and in all bathrooms at public universities and community colleges in the state.

They also require the state to work toward allowing women who receive public food and nutrition assistance to use the programs for diapers and feminine hygiene products.

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“Period poverty is a public health crisis, and these laws will enhance the everyday lives of people struggling to afford necessary menstrual hygiene products,” said Illinois State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago). “Access and affordability of period products will no longer be a barrier to a student’s proper education or a person’s well-being in Illinois.”

CBS 2 Chicago Staff