Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss taxes on feminine hygiene products and slavery’s legacy

Lift this burden

A recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology surveyed women in the St. Louis area and showed that two-thirds of menstruators with lower incomes struggled to afford pads or tampons. Menstrual products are a necessity for millions for four to eight days a month over about 40 years. Sales tax on these vital products adds stress to many families who may already struggle.

Some people are concerned about the state losing revenue if the tax is rescinded. However, bingo supplies have been exempt from state sales tax for 25 years. Lifting this exemption could make up for any lost money.

Unfair sales taxes on menstrual hygiene items are rooted in taboo. Stigma surrounding periods causes menstruators to hide pads in our sleeves as we walk to the restroom and whisper euphemisms for our period — “shark week” or “Aunt Flo.” Code names for periods might be funny, but they still evoke the stigma.

Fight that stigma by eliminating the tax. Lawmakers can’t avoid this uncomfortable topic, because it’s an issue that matters.

Olivia Powell

Kansas City

Plenty taken

I read with interest a June 23 letter asserting that the federal government “freed the slaves and asked for nothing in return.” (14A) What about free labor for 246 years? Slaveholding families built their fortunes and legacies on the backs of African Americans. The Jim Crow era maintained income disparities. Overt and covert racism and discrimination hinder the recovery efforts of African Americans still today.

The federal government asked for nothing in return because it already had taken it.

Sandra Jefferson

Lee’s Summit