Alastair Hecht / AFP via Getty Images
Ann Arbor will require all public toilets in the city to wear menstrual products under a new ordinance that goes into effect in January.
That means sanitary towels and tampons, as well as soap and toilet paper, must be available free of charge in every public restroom across the city of Michigan.
“We as a society have not taken menstruation seriously for too long,” Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor told MediaFrolic. “Access to menstrual products is a fundamental human necessity.”
Some US states and cities already offer free menstrual products in certain locations, such as schools and homeless shelters, but Taylor said he believes Ann Arbor would be the first jurisdiction to require it in all public restrooms.
“It’s about justice and personal dignity,” he said. “I’m just happy that we were able to provide a public good at low cost.”
Last year, Scotland became the first country to offer menstrual products for free.
Taylor said he proposed the regulation after hearing from a high school student who was concerned that non-residents would have difficulty getting menstrual products. Ann Arbor City Council unanimously passed the ordinance on Monday.
It comes just weeks after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two laws to repeal state taxes on menstrual products.
Ann Arbor’s regulation applies to all public toilets regardless of gender, but does not include private residences.
Violators can pay a civil fine of no more than $ 100.