By Brianna Taylor
Upon presenting her bill, representative Kayla Frazier from the Cedar Park delegation is well aware of the discomfort in the room. The shifting eyes, the shuffling feet, and the occasional clearing of the throat are all things she is used to witnessing when speaking about her proposal. Although it may be uncomfortable for some, the subject of her bill is something she as well as many other women believe we should be talking about on a larger scale.
American women spend roughly $2 billion on feminine hygiene products in a single year, and that number is only projected to rise. Despite this statistic, many women that are homeless, imprisoned, or impoverished do not have immediate access to feminine hygiene products, leaving them in a difficult situation because of their inability to pay for a necessity. These issues, as well as many others associated with feminine hygiene costs, are what have prompted the United Nations to declare the state of menstrual hygiene a “public-health, gender-equality and human rights issue.”
Frazier’s bill is formally described as: “An act to remove all tax on feminine hygiene products to decrease the burden in women and declaring an emergency.”
According to Frazier, the implications of removing the tax from feminine hygiene products would be minuscule, and would not negatively impact the fiscal responsibility of the federal government. There are many other goods that are not currently taxed that could make up for the slight loss of revenue from removing this tax – things that are a lot less vital than feminine hygiene products. The taxation of these goods instead of those necessary for proper feminine hygiene would be much more logical, and prove to be more beneficial for women in the long run.
Frazier wrote this bill in order to draw attention to the difficulties that all women face throughout their lifetime, as well as lessen the burden of purchasing these necessary products every single month. Frazier is quite aware that for some, every penny counts, and that the removal of sales tax from feminine hygiene products will ultimately benefit women from all socio-economic areas. The idea that this topic is too taboo for conversation is eliminated in the presentation of this bill, as it allows everyone to have a mature outlook on the issue.
Frazier’s bill, which garnered support from all in the room, was unanimously passed by all in attendance. It is evident that everyone is aware of the implications that this tax imposes on women, and that the elimination of this tax would help women save money that could go to other important things.
Although this bill has a long way to go until we see it enacted Nationwide, there are many places that have already taken action in reducing the cost of feminine hygiene products. Canada was recently successful in eliminating the Goods and Services tax on items such as tampons, pads, and menstrual cups, proving themselves trailblazers in the worldwide effort to improve the availability of these products to women. Several other countries may soon follow suit, as many have begun realizing that this pressing issue is something that requires immediate action. Frazier’s bill is evidence of the menstrual crisis being something that lawmakers and citizens alike need to start recognizing and taking action against.