Women In New York Are Fighting The Tampon Tax With A Class Action Lawsuit

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Among women, the tampon tax hasn't been very popular, to say the least. So today, five women in New York filed a class action lawsuit to fight the much-maligned tax.

The complaint argues that sales tax for tampons and sanitary pads violates state law, which declares that medical items shouldn't be taxed. According to the complaint, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance "imposes a double standard when defining medical items for women and men," since medical items also used by men — like Rogaine, foot powder, dandruff shampoo, ChapStick, facial wash, adult diapers, and incontinence pads — are tax-free. Tampons and pads, on the other hand, are exclusively used by women.

"Tampons and sanitary pads are far more necessary to the preservation of health than Rogaine, dandruff shampoo, or many other products the Department considers medically exempt," the complaint states. "The Department’s double standard for men and women finds no support in the tax law and serves no purpose other than to discriminate."

The group of women who filed the complaint consists of an actor, a mathematician, a children's programs coordinator, a photographer, and a professor — proving that the financial burden of menstruation touches women from all walks of life. Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has yet to comment on the suit, the women hope to gain support over the next year.

"It’s time for New York to stop taxing women for being women," said Ilann M. Maazel, lead counsel for the women, in a statement sent to Refinery29.

Some states, like New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, have already put an end to taxes on menstrual sanitary products. Other states, like California, are considering doing the same. With most of the menstruating women in America using tampons, it's not likely that this move to end the discriminatory tax will stop without a fight. And with women currently forking over thousands of their hard-earned dollars on these products, why should it?

As the complaint states: "The Tampon Tax is irrational. It is discrimination. It is wrong. Defendants should be required to follow the law, and return the many millions of dollars they took illegally at the expense of women’s health."
Advertisement

More from Body

Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...
Last week, Kelly Stanley was breast-feeding her 9-month-old baby during dinner when someone else at her table decided to grab a cloth napkin and try to ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
Periods may be annoying, but at least they're predictable — sort of. If yours is a little delayed this cycle, and you're not trying to get pregnant right ...
It sustains life. It boosts immunity. It may or may not taste like the milk left over from a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Full disclosure: I sampled mine just ...
Gina Rodriguez is the master of keeping it real. She's been open about everything from losing her virginity to coping with thyroid disease, so it makes ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
When you see your friend's adorable baby, your first instinct, understandably, is probably to hug and kiss her all over. However, you might want to think ...
Two years ago, Ericka Hart was about to walk into a Sephora in Lower Manhattan when she looked down at her ringing phone, and stopped right there on Wall...
Eve Torres Gracie, former WWE wrestler and current very dangerous person, posted a moving Instagram photo of her post-baby body today. Inspired by the ...
In an interview for People's Mom Talk video series, model and actress Molly Sims opened up about suffering through a thyroid problem that went ...
When I think about the aspect of sex that has made me most anxious over the course of my seven years of sexual activity so far, it’s not the risk of ...
If you've never experienced color-blindness yourself, it's pretty hard to imagine what it might be like. Turns out, it's much more complicated than just ...