Republicans think tampons need to be taxed to limit women from buying too many


Some Tennessee lawmakers are worried that women would abuse the tax-free status of feminine hygiene products.

Republican lawmakers in Tennessee are raising objections to a proposal that would add feminine hygiene products to the list of items that can be purchased during the state's annual sales-tax holiday, the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, the GOP lawmakers worried that women would abuse the law and purchase too many feminine hygiene products during the pause on state sales tax on some items — including computers and clothing. The pause lasts only one weekend, starting on the last Friday of July, the AP reported.

"I would think since it's a sales tax holiday, there's really no limit on the number of items anybody can purchase," Republican state Sen. Joey Hensley said during a debate on the proposal on Tuesday, according to the AP. "I don't know how you would limit the number of items someone could purchase."

Eliminating the so-called "tampon tax" has been a growing movement in states across the country.

Advocates argue that feminine hygiene products are a basic necessity that should be added to a list of necessities that aren't subject to taxes, such as groceries and medicine.

According to Period Equity, a group fighting to eliminate the tampon tax, feminine hygiene products are taxed in 31 states, including Tennessee.

Allison Wilson, a legislative assistant for Hensley, said the concern was over how much adding feminine hygiene products to the list of tax-free items would cost the state.

"Every bill has to receive funding to be implemented and it is up to the sponsor to find those funds," Wilson said in an email. "His questions were directed toward that cost and the plans to fund this legislation. He was concerned that the possibility of people purchasing large quantities had not been factored in when determining the cost of the legislation."

The average woman can expect to spend over $1,000 on menstrual products over the course of a lifetime. According to a report from Obstetrics & Gynecology, more than 1 in 5 women report they can't afford to buy the products every month.

Updated with a response from Tennessee state Sen. Joey Hensley's office and additional details about menstrual product costs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.