Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has chosen to veto part of a law to distribute free sanitary pads to economically vulnerable women, prison inmates, and teenagers enrolled in public schools.
As per a report in The Guardian, The president allegedly claimed that lawmakers did not specify as to how they would fund this, Bolsonaro allegedly justified the veto by saying that while the lawmakers had laudable intent, the bill “favours a certain group.” Tabata Amaral, of the Democratic Labour party (PDT) who also co-authored the bill, said that the president had shown his “contempt for the dignity of vulnerable women” by vetoing the plan.
As per the Guardian report, Amaral, who is leading the campaign to overturn the veto, also disputed the government’s claim that the source of the 84m reais (£11m) a year to cover the plan was unclear, saying it had been specified it would be funded by the health ministry and national penitentiary fund.
In May, a report by the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF, and United Nations population fund, UNFPA, found that 713,000 girls in Brazil, did not have access to a Bathroom; about 4 million girls did not have proper hygiene facilities at school. As per data collected by feminist organisations in Brazil, one in four Brazilian teenage women did not have access to sanitary pads.
The Law was expected to benefit 5.6 million women and was part of a larger set of laws to promote menstrual health.
The Brazilian Government’s move drew flak from a large section of people including opposition leaders and activists.
Many expressed their anger using the hashtag #LivreParaMenstruar (free to menstruate). As quoted in the Guardian piece, Jacqueline Moraes, vice-governor of the South-Eastern state of Espírito Santo, tweeted: “Is it ‘a privilege’ for a poor woman to have the right to a tampon? No! It’s social policy, public health!”