TamponGate: Texas Senate issues ban on feminine hygiene products


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist Jen Huls stands dressed as a tampon outside of Columbia University during a protest October 19, 2004 in New York. PETA staged a protest alleging that Columbia researchers are conducting cruel menstrual tests on primates and subjecting them to painful conditions.


Chris Hondros

The Texas Senate barred women from bringing feminine hygiene products into the Senate Chambers Friday — provoking a social media uproar and an exceptionally swift retraction of the policy. 

Why ban the humble tampon or pad from entry? Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst claims the decision was made because feminine hygiene products could presumably be thrown at lawmakers, who debated Friday about sweeping new restrictions on abortion in Texas.

Read more from GlobalPost: Texas Republicans pass sweeping abortion restrictions 

Texas lawmakers gathered Friday for another vote on controversial new abortion measures in the state, including a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks, stringent health and safety standards for clinics, and new restrictions on the usage of RU-486, a drug sometimes known as the "abortion pill." 

State Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin fought back against the idea, calling it "boneheaded" and "crazy," wrote the Associated Press. Some diabetes medications were also banned from entry into the building. 

Other critics pointed out that concealed firearms owned by state license holders are allowed into the Senate Chambers without questioning. 

Watson reportedly was told the ban would end, but a press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety states  that in "the interest of the safety and security of Texas legislators and the general public, these inspections will continue until the conclusion of Senate business." 

The DPS added that the inspections have turned up "one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint," as well as feminine hygiene products and glitter. 

#TamponGate, as it was quickly dubbed, turned into a social media uproar: see the Storify below for some highlights. 

[View the story "Texas Senate sparks "Tampongate" " on Storify]