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An international outcry to end the tax on tampons has been bubbling up for some time now. However, the movement had an unfortunate setback thanks to a group of lawmakers in Utah yesterday. An all-male panel in Salt Lake City voted to continue to keep a tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products despite public protest for change, The Associated Press reports.
Other countries, like Canada, have already removed the tax on these items, as well as 10 U.S. states who either already removed the tax, or don’t have sales tax to begin with. Collecting money off pads and tampons punish women for their biology, and make a statement that these items should be treated as nonessential products rather than a basic health need (keep in mind, most states don’t tax essential items like groceries and prescriptions, but 40 states do tax sanitary products).
But what does this mean for low-income women? Women on food stamps can’t use any of their government financial assistance for pads or tampons, and they can’t use the purchase as tax-deductible medical expense. So, not only does this sales tax promote gender inequality, it also financially burdens women to an extent where not all women can afford their time of the month.
Since periods are bad enough already, (horrible cramping, bloating, migraines, exhaustion…the list goes on and on), to us it feels like adding insult to injury to place a tax on feminine hygiene products. Not only is a visit from “Aunt Flo” uncomfortable physically, women are routinely shamed and rejected due to their periods. Many women feel they are being regularly dismissed as being unable to think clearly, or simply being accused of being hormonal due to menstruation