Texas will now allow people taking the bar exam to bring their own menstrual products

The Texas Board of Law Examiners will now allow those taking the bar exam to bring menstrual products to the examination.Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images
  • The state of Texas will now allow people to take the days-long state bar exam to bring their own menstrual products, The Texas Tribune reported.
  • The previous policy, which prohibited test-takers from being their own menstrual products to the exam for security concerns, was the subject of a critical July letter signed by hundreds of Texas lawyers, students, and professors.
  • The Texas Board of Law Examiners previously provided the products in the women's restroom, according to the report.
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The state of Texas will now allow people taking the state bar exam to bring their own menstrual products to the administration of the days-long state bar exam after allegations that the existing policy was discriminatory.

According to The Texas Tribune, people who need to use tampons or pads will be allowed to bring them to their examination in a clear plastic bag. They were previously prohibited because the state bar association wanted to "operate the examination fairly and securely," Texas Board of Law Examiners director Susan Henricks said, according to the report.

The next in-person bar exam is scheduled for September after the state canceled the July administration of the test due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Statesman, the state also added an online option in the month of October due to COVID-19.
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Menstrual products were previously prohibited because of security concerns and to expedite the check-in process prior to the four-hour examination sessions, Henricks said, according to the Texas Tribune.

"The administrators of this examination are primarily females, including me obviously, and we understand the need for access to feminine hygiene products," she said in a statement to the Texas Tribune. They "know that the overwhelming majority of applicants have no design or intention to compromise the integrity of the examination and that these policies may be burdensome and inconvenient."

Henricks said the board had provided "assortment of different sizes and brands," including tampons and pads, in bathrooms during the examination.
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The change came following a July letter to the state board, signed by hundreds of lawyers, professors, and students, asking for the policy to be changed.

"Although it is helpful to provide such products, the prohibition against applicants' bringing their own
products as well as the provision of products only in women's restrooms—and not all restrooms, results
in test-taking conditions for examinees who menstruate that are more onerous and stressful than for
other people," they wrote. The authors of the letter also noted that the menstrual products may not be available in the men's restroom, creating challenges for test-takers who are non-binary or are transgender men.
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