A new law that went into effect in the state removes sales tax on menstrual and baby products to ensure that people of all backgrounds have easy access to these essentials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that menstrual products are essential, as they stop infections, reduce odors and help individuals stay comfortable during periods. Still, many places in America treat menstrual products as a luxury rather than a necessity. According to a survey conducted by Obstetrics & Gynecology, nearly 64% of women still struggle to access these products because of their cost. It is further proof of how the reproductive rights of women in the country are being constantly neglected, with a huge impact being made by the Supreme Court's verdict on abortion. According to Good Morning America, Texas has now taken one step forward in this issue by removing the "tampon tax" on menstrual products. It has also eliminated sales tax on various baby items.
The law, S.B. 379, went into effect on Friday, September 1, and removed the so-called "tampon tax" on feminine hygiene items like tampons, menstrual pads and menstrual cups. It brings the cost of such products considerably down. The law also eliminates sales tax from diapers, baby bottles, baby wipes, maternity clothing and breast milk pump products. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, Texas has now joined other two dozen states in America that no longer charge taxes on diapers.
This step is a beacon of light amidst the disturbing abortion policies of the state, which prohibits the process after six weeks unless there is a medical emergency. Unfortunately, the aspect of "medical emergency" is not clear, which makes professionals scared of authorizing the process. Conducting an illegal abortion might lead to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to the state's laws. This law also gives private citizens the right to sue someone they believe is aiding or abetting abortion.
The action of removing the sales tax on menstrual products bolsters menstrual equity. The supporters of this movement believe that the inaccessibility of menstrual products damages women's prospects in the world by preventing them from taking up jobs and attending schools. The usage of unsanitized products is also unhealthy for women and can lead to urinary tract infections and various reproductive problems.
This action helps improve women's health— The Broken Voice (@TheRaisedVoice) September 3, 2023
I hope it will continue and similar cases will be seen in other states as well.#Texas eliminates 'tampon tax' on menstrual products, sales #tax on baby items pic.twitter.com/QQZGbOOwTl
Even in the United States, many women suffer from period poverty. This phenomenon happens when people do not have the financial means to buy menstrual products. In 2019, a survey was done amongst low-income women in St. Louis, Missouri, to find out about their accessibility to menstrual products. The survey revealed that two-thirds of the women could not afford to buy these products and therefore, had to use cloth and other unsanitary items during periods.
Advocates of menstrual equity have been working tirelessly to increase awareness around the issue. Their efforts led to actions like California requiring free period products in public schools and colleges, CVS reducing the cost of period products supplied by their company and also paying the sales tax associated with those products if they have not been waived by the states. Texas Republican state Sen. Joan Huffman, who has been a staunch supporter of the law eliminating the "tampon tax," considers the move essential to support the overall well-being of women in the state. "Every woman knows that these products are not optional," Huffman said in his statement last year. "They are essential to our health and well-being and should be tax exempt."