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LA Might Make Pads And Tampons Available For Free In City Facilities

Boxes of tampons are displayed in a pharmacy. (Mark Lennihan/AP)
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Emily Henderson and Jessica Ogilvie contributed to this report.

Los Angeles city officials are considering making feminine hygiene products available for free at every city restroom, including parks, libraries and City Hall.

A motion introduced in August by City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield states that tampons and pads are "essential health items," and should be provided alongside toilet paper and soap.

"The Councilmember believes that this is long overdue, and that it is inherently wrong that half the population has to be even more financially burdened simply because of their gender," Blumenfield's office said in a statement.

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The motion wasn't drafted with a particular demographic in mind, however it would "greatly benefit people with financial or logistical restraints, i.e. homeless women or young girls who may not have simple access convenience stores or pharmacies," the statement said.

If the motion passes, L.A. will be one step closer to joining cities like Montebello and Salt Lake City, Utah in providing feminine hygiene products for free at government locations.

Chelsea Von Chaz, founder of the L.A.-based nonprofit #HappyPeriod, said that access to tampons and pads - or lack thereof - can take a significant toll on a person's physical and mental health.

"It has a lot to do with self care and self-efficacy, self-esteem," she said. "The fact that someone that doesn't have [tampons or pads], and they're not able to take care of themselves... what that can do to them mentally."

Von Chaz added that she hopes the motion will act as an instigator for officials to provide free feminine hygiene products in more places, such as homeless shelters, schools, prisons and transition homes.

"I think [the motion is] great, but I just want to make sure that... it's really accessible," she said. "Let's just move this for everybody."

The motion must pass two more votes in city council.

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