For the UCLA paper Daily Bruin, writer Zoey Freedman claims that if the federal government would start giving away feminine hygiene products, it "would slow [the] flow of gender inequality." (Pun received.)
She argues that the health care industry is biased towards men, even offering them coverage for erectile dysfunction, while the basic needs of menstruation are left to the women. Freedman writes:
Although still greatly outnumbered and underpaid compared to their male counterparts, women have made so much progress. Yet inequality still lies in the most basic areas of human well-being. Women are still facing unequal treatment when it comes to health care and are paying out of pocket for necessary female health products, particularly tampons and pads.
It’s about time that the federal government recognizes that even the most basic health care needs to start subsidizing the cost of tampons and pads for women, or covering the cost completely. This is only fair, since health insurance is supposed to cover the major aspects of a person’s health. But more importantly, cutting the cost of these products is a crucial step in normalizing menstruation within society, and it provides women who may not have access to these resources the opportunity to feel clean and comfortable during their period.
Freedman believes that government officials must view these products as "luxury" items and therefore exclude them from being covered under Obamacare. But in her mind, they should be standard and perhaps even free:
Free or subsidized tampons through health care services can ensure that women at least have the right to a happy and healthy lifestyle, especially when that time of the month rolls around.
The editor of the Daily Bruin added another dimension to this story by including the following note at the top of the piece, a trigger warning if you will, just to cover all the bases:
Editor’s note: This blog post refers to individuals who menstruate as women because the author wanted to highlight gender inequality in health care. We acknowledge that not all individuals who menstruate identify as women and that not all individuals who identify as women menstruate, but feel this generalization is appropriate considering the gendered nature of most health care policies.
If the comments section of the Bruin is any indication, most people are having trouble deciding if they just read something from The Onion or an actual university publication:
"I'm sorry, is this the Daily Bruin or Poe's law quarterly? I am a UCLA alum and when I see stories like this (to say nothing of the "editor's note"), I feel a deep shame for what the university is producing. I scrape things off the bottom of my shoe that are more worthy of publication." -- drakejr
"Sandra Fluke never even went this far. So now tax-payers have to cough up more money for your tampons?
And this editorial note about who menstruates is a joke. This is how far the left has taken us in academia." -- garyfouse