#FreeThePeriod WA Tampon Tax Repeal

WA State Senators

PERIOD is the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health in the world. We provide and celebrate menstrual hygiene through service, education, and policy — through the global distribution of period products to those in need, and engagement of youth leadership through a nationwide network of campus chapters.

To: WA State Senators
From: [Your Name]

In Washington State, menstrual hygiene products are considered nonessential and are therefore taxed up to 10.4% while items such as candy bars and Viagra are not taxed. This makes menstrual hygiene products, an absolute essential for those who menstruate, difficult to afford.

As students, we understand the role menstrual hygiene products play in ensuring we can focus on school, work, and anything else we’re involved in. All menstruators should have access to products to ensure their basic needs are being taken care of so they can reach their fullest potential, free of debating the cost of a box of tampons against a meal.

According to the Office of Financial Management, 14.3% of Washingtonians ages 0-17 and 10.6% of Washingtonians ages 18-64 live below the poverty line. Individuals in these categories who also menstruate are extremely vulnerable to the tax on menstrual products.

The tax on menstrual products forces many who cannot afford menstrual products to use menstrual products longer than the recommended 6 to 8 hours. This places them at an increased risk of potentially fatal health issues, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome.

By letting the tampon tax to continue to exist, the Washington State Legislature is choosing to reinforce the stigma surrounding periods and let half of its residents remain in a disadvantaged position. We should be more committed to promoting gender equality, yet we are falling behind on supporting our menstruating residents.

We are calling on Washington’s State Legislature to pass SB 5147 and SB 5206 by 2021, which will provide a sales and use tax exemption for menstrual hygiene products. We need to be committed to ensuring the safety and health of menstruators statewide. This bill is in the Senate: WA State Senators have a chance to show their constituents that they are committed to the health and safety of all Washingtonians. Menstrual products are a basic human necessity, and should not be taxed as luxury items.