Tennessee had a chance to help women save a little money on feminine hygiene products such as tampons later this year during the annual sales tax holiday, but Republicans decided to exclude them because they don’t want women to buy too many.

The red state is just one of several that have placed a special tax on tampons to prevent women from affording the necessity.

And because it’s a necessity, a growing chorus of Americans believe that tampons should be exempt from being taxed, which would have the added benefit of making the item much more affordable for low-income women.

Every year, Tennessee has a weekend where shoppers can purchase products without having to pay state sales taxes. It should also apply to tampons, but Republicans opposed it because they don’t want women rushing to the stores to stock up on tampons.

“I would think since it’s a sales tax holiday, there’s really no limit on the number of items anybody can purchase,” GOP state Senator Joey Hensley said on Tuesday during a debate in the statehouse. “I don’t know how you would limit the number of items someone could purchase.”

Why are Republicans so scared of women having tampons? Do they really want women and girls just free-bleeding everywhere during their periods? This is a seriously f*cked up thing to be worried about. Surely, state lawmakers have more pressing issues to deal with.

Faced with a backlash, Hensley’s legislative assistant attempted to dig her boss out of the hole he dug.

“Every bill has to receive funding to be implemented and it is up to the sponsor to find those funds,” the assistant said. “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.”

Frankly, the cost really should not matter when it comes to protecting the health of women and girls. But we’re talking about a single weekend in July. It’s not going to exactly cost the state a fortune, and it’s not like they are worrying about how much tax revenue the state will lose on other items during the holiday. Republicans are entirely focused on tampons, and that’s just wrong, as Democratic Senator Brenda Gilmore pointed out.

“It’s a very uncomfortable conversation to have, there are some young girls who use rags and cloths because they can’t afford these products and we should not allow our young girls to be submitted to this humiliation,” Gilmore said.

Women have to pay this tax for 363 days out of the year. The least Republicans can do is give them a break for two, especially if they are going to refuse to repeal the tampon tax in its entirety.

 

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