Many times in 2017 women’s rights have been a hot topic due to the 1950s-style methods of discussing and treating women’s fertility from those in power.
With the UK government stating that sanitary products are a ‘luxury’ and have a 5% tax on all items, the announcement that a sum of money from the £12 million tax made on sanitary products will be given to anti-abortion organisation, Life, hasn’t gone down entirely well.
Former Chancellor George Osborne promised the tampon tax would be removed but has since made a swift U-turn on this statement, instead using the money made from the tax to support women’s charities.
Information published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s website revealed that 70 organisations will be receiving a pot of money from the tampon tax, with Life receiving one of the biggest sums at a cost of quarter of a million pounds.
Speaking with The Guardian, a spokesperson for End Violence Against Women Coalition said: “We are surprised to see that Life is the recipient of a very significant tampon tax grant. The government set out clearly that this money would be spent in ways that would address women’s specific needs and inequalities. It is hard to understand how a service offering counseling based on the fundamental premise that abortion is wrong, to vulnerable women, can do that.”
Since the announcement that Life would be one of the organisations to get funding, many women’s rights activists and MPs have spoken out due to the incorrect and sometimes dangerous information the pro-life charity promote with their website, stating their aim is to “make abortion a thing of the past”.
Removing the choice from a woman on what she can do with her body is becoming an all too familiar issue in recent years; one notable moment including President Donald Trump revoking federal funding from international organisations who support or provide information on abortions, signing the bill in a room full of men.
The Tory government’s decision to keep the tampon tax and distribute the money to charities supporting women who have experienced domestic violence or been victim of rape or sexual violence is overshadowed by the decision to support Life.
With many young girls missing out on their education due to insufficient funds to buy sanitary products during their periods, it brings into question – when will women have complete control of what happens to their body?
Taxing an essential product as it is deemed a ‘luxury’ and giving money to an organisation that runs on false claims including abortions lead to breast cancer or distributing leaflets stating 85% of abortions are carried out using vacuum aspiration is dangerous to vulnerable women.
The idea that distributing the tampon tax to women’s charities to help girls or women in need is undermined by supporting Life who do not believe in women having control of their own body.
At this time, women are taxed to control their periods before supplying said money to organisations working to remove choice and control from female fertility – now we have to see how the government will react to the current backlash.