The ‘Tampon Tax’ Must be Abolished, Period

Jacqueline Glenn, Co-Editor-in-Chief


By passing Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s bill AB31, California has repealed its luxury sales tax, known as the “tampon tax,” on menstrual hygiene products as of Jan. 1, 2020, ABC reported. 

Yes, you read that right. Items necessary to human hygiene were taxed and classified as a “luxury.” 

A luxury. 

Merriam-Webster defines “luxury” as “something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary.” 

Not absolutely necessary. 

Menstrual hygiene products are, in fact, necessary. Many women who cannot afford them improvise with makeshift cloth pads or bundled toilet paper, which can lead to serious health problems, pain and discomfort. 

Women who use these improvised products can be subject to reproductive and urinary tract infections, UNICEF’s website states. 

And period products are not cheap to begin with—a 36-count box of Tampax tampons, for example, costs $6.96 from If a woman uses one box per month, that is $83.52 for an entire year.

Adding to this cost is the sales tax, which in California can vary from 7.25 percent to 10.25 percent, according to 

So if women cannot afford the “luxury” of menstrual hygiene products, which the tax exacerbates, they could be subjected to painful health problems relating to an involuntary bodily function.

California is doing the right thing, but it is one of only 11 states to abolish its tax. 

Some argued that abolishing the tax would be prohibitively detrimental to the state’s budget. 

In 2016, Garcia’s bill AB1561 was passed unanimously in both California’s Assembly and its Senate, but then-Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it, citing fiscal concerns of a “precariously balanced budget,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

“Tax breaks are the same as new spending,” Brown said. “They both cost the general fund money,” 

And it would. 

“The state estimated that eliminating the sales tax on menstrual products would cost about $20 million a year,” the Chronicle reported.

But Garcia fired back appropriately. 

“The budget shouldn’t be balanced on women’s uteruses.” 

While it remains to be seen what the removed tax will cost California, the gain of human dignity through more affordable hygiene products will undoubtedly surpass it.The rest of America must follow California’s lead by abolishing this discriminatory tax immediately.