Target: U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, MP
Goal: Stop funding anti-choice charity, Life, with money collected from taxing sanitary products.
The U.K.’s tax on sanitary products has long been a source of controversy and anger. This recently intensified when it came to light that a substantial amount of the money gathered from the tax was being given to a prominent anti-abortion charity rather than the women’s rights charities it was pledged to. The U.K. government must stop adding insult to injury and halt these donations.
At the root of protests against the ‘tampon tax’ is the government’s treatment of sanitary products as taxable ‘luxury’ items, rather than essential medical products which are usually tax-free. Protesters argue that this represents an unfair bias against people who menstruate. In fact, some organizations even suggest that the tax infringes upon several human rights, including the right to safe, hygienic, accessible sanitation. Such claims have gained extra credibility since a recent report found that British schoolchildren are regularly missing lessons because their families cannot afford to buy them sanitary products.
In response to criticism over these issues, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, pledged to eliminate the tax, a promise he entirely failed to deliver upon. In an effort to placate those angered by this failure, it was announced that between £10 million and £15 million of the money collected from the tax would be spent on charities and services for women and girls, such as support services for survivors of domestic violence. This was far from an entirely popular proposal, as many women felt they were being charged taxes on essential items to pay for essential services their government should have already been providing with adequate funding.
However, anger about this point grew dramatically when it was revealed that one of the charities receiving £250,000 of tax money was actively opposed to women’s rights to choose whether or not to have abortions. Life, the charity in question, runs a series of unregulated ‘counseling’ services for pregnant women, which undercover investigators found to include misinformation about the safety of abortions and extremely biased, anti-choice language. Their website even describes abortions undertaken after a rape as ‘death sentences’ for fetuses. That women should be taxed for essential medical items is bad enough but that the money taken should be used to fund an organization that is working so actively to limit women’s rights is a terrible insult that must be stopped. Sign the petition below to demand that the tampon tax is thrown out entirely.
Dear Mr. Hammond,
I am writing to you to express my concern about how the money collected through the taxing of sanitary products is distributed. As you know, the so-called ‘tampon tax’ has long been a controversial issue. A great many people, including several MPs, believe that it is already biased and discriminatory and that it should have been eliminated as George Osborne once pledged to do. The subsequent proposal that the money collected be spent on charities and services concerned with women’s rights was also arguably somewhat prejudiced but essentially welcome in the current climate of excessive defunding of such services.
However, it was recently revealed that £250,000 of the money — one of the largest donations to a single charity — is being given to Life, a charity with a pronounced anti-choice, anti-abortion agenda. Undercover investigations have revealed Life’s ‘counseling’ services for pregnant women to be riddled with misinformation and biased, emotive, and wholly inappropriate anti-choice language. Giving money gathered through the tax on sanitary products to an organization that opposes women’s rights to choose is an added insult on top of the injury of the tax itself. As such, I call on you to reconsider this choice and cease these donations.
[Your Name Here].
Photo credit: Ryan Kaldari