President Jair Bolsonaro called this Thursday (14) “modess aid” the benefit he had vetoed, which provided for the distribution of tampons for low-income students, homeless women and prisoners.
As a justification for the veto, published on the 7th in the “Official Gazette”, the president argued, among other reasons, that the bill approved by Congress did not provide a source of funding for these measures. But the project provided for the use of funds destined for the Unified Health System (SUS).
On Thursday, broadcast live on a social network, Bolsonaro said that, in the event that Congress overturns the veto (video below), will find a way to provide the assistance, but noted that it will not be “free”. According to him, at least R$300 million will be needed to fund the adoption of the measure. The president of the Senate and Congress, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), has already said that the veto is “very candidate” to be overthrown.
Congressmen articulate the overthrow of Bolsonaro’s veto on the distribution of tampons
“If Congress overturns the veto — and I’m hoping that it will — I’ll get a tampon. Because it won’t be free. They calculated a little more than R$ 100 million here. You can be sure, they’ll multiply it by three. having to get R$ 300 million, somewhere. I’m not going to create a tax to make up for that. And not increase tax to make up for it,” he declared.
Prior to this statement, Bolsonaro asked an advisor if the name of the benefit was “modess aid.” Someone replied that it was “absorbent aid”.
“We’re going to get by and we’re going to extend the Modess Allowance there. Is that right? Modess Allowance? Absorbent? For everyone. Okay?”, he said.
Modess was a brand of absorbent by the multinational Johnson & Johnson, distributed in Brazil from the 1930s onwards.
The proposal to distribute free menstrual pads to low-income public school students and people living on the streets or in extreme vulnerability originated in the Chamber of Deputies and was later approved by the Senate on September 14th.
Bolsonaro sanctioned the project, which creates the Menstrual Health Protection and Promotion Program, but vetoed article 1, which provided for the free distribution of sanitary napkins, and article 3, which established the list of beneficiaries:
- low-income students enrolled in public schools;
- homeless women or in situations of extreme social vulnerability;
- imprisoned women and prisoners, collected in units of the penal system; and
- women hospitalized in units to fulfill a socio-educational measure.
The president also vetoed the section that included sanitary pads in the basic baskets distributed by the National Food and Nutritional Security System.
The approved text provided that the money would come from resources allocated by the Union to the Unified Health System (SUS) – and, in the case of inmates, from the National Penitentiary Fund.
In relation to SUS, the president argued that sanitary pads are not on the list of medicines considered essential (the National List of Essential Medicines) and that, by stipulating specific beneficiaries, the project did not meet the principle of universality of the Unified Health System.
About the National Penitentiary Fund, he argued that the law that created it does not provide for the use of resources for this purpose.
Bolsonaro kept the passages that oblige the Government to promote an informational campaign on menstrual health and that authorizes education managers to make the necessary expenses to meet the requirements of the law.
Congress can decide to maintain or overturn presidential vetoes. The deadline for this assessment is 30 days after the publication of the veto in the “Official Gazette”, but it is not always met.