Lawmaker helped NM take first step to menstrual equity - Albuquerque Journal

Lawmaker helped NM take first step to menstrual equity

New Mexicans no longer have to pay a tax on menstrual products thanks to a provision allowing retailers to deduct gross receipts taxes. But this bill should only mark the first step toward menstrual equity.

During the 2022 NM Legislative session, Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, introduced a bill allowing retailers to deduct gross receipts taxes on menstrual products. This tax change was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on March 8 under House Bill 163.

The bill eliminating taxes on menstrual products follows about 20 other states that have ceased taxes on menstrual products. The logic is easy to follow; we don’t want to tax things that people need simply because they exist. This is a similar line of logic for eliminating taxes on food and medicine.

Menstruation is a natural occurrence, and menstrual products should be treated like necessities instead of luxuries. Over 53% of the N.M. population is women aged 18-65. Over the course of a lifetime, the average person will have 451 menstrual cycles. An average cycle lasts 4-7 days. This means the average person must use menstrual products anywhere from 1,804 to 3,157 days of their lifetime. Yes, that’s right, on average menstruation takes up 5-8 years of your life.

There is no natural monthly occurrence that happens to the male reproductive system like menstruation. Yet, this symbol of a healthy female reproductive system is seen as a luxury. In many states, menstrual products are taxed. Thanks to the hard work and dedication to this important issue by Trujillo, New Mexico is no longer one of those states.

In most places, menstrual products are not provided freely to those that need them. However, women overall make less than white non-Hispanic men. Native American women, on average, make about 60 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, and Hispanic women make 57 cents. This pay gap is part of the reason why menstruating people sometimes forgo buying menstrual products to purchase other necessities, like food.

Many menstruating people miss work or school because of a lack of menstrual products. Even worse, some people resort to using tampons for longer than recommended or using socks, toilet paper, and newspaper to absorb menses. Using products like this can lead to toxic shock syndrome, which can lead to major health problems years in the future.

Menstrual products are a medical necessity because menstruation is a natural occurrence. Not having access to menstrual products can lead to serious medical complications. Menstruating people are also some of the lowest-paid individuals in New Mexico. While not paying taxes is a huge deal for people who watch their budgets closely, especially with rising inflation and gas prices, menstrual equity should not end there. Menstrual products should be provided freely to those who need them most. We should enact ways where these products can be covered by federal and/or state dollars through programs like SNAP and EBT. In some states, SNAP can already be used to purchase menstrual products. These products should be provided to those who are low-income and/or incarcerated. They should be provided in schools and homeless shelters. They should be provided because they are a medical necessity and part of everyday life. A healthy reproductive system is not a luxury.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Lawmaker helped NM take first step to menstrual equity


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
NASA successfully hits asteroid with DART spacecraft in first ...
From the newspaper
Now experts have to measure and ... Now experts have to measure and watch to see if the nudge alters the orbit of the asteroid enough to register as a success.
2
NM must push back at our state's acceptance of ...
From the newspaper
Problem is years in the making; ... Problem is years in the making; let's get our people back to work
3
Spaceport subsidies and corporate welfare's black hole
From the newspaper
NM won't see ROI for $275 ... NM won't see ROI for $275 million it gave Virgin Galactic
4
Editorial: NM needs leaders who will tackle real water ...
Editorials
Bankruptcy, Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, comes ... Bankruptcy, Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, comes "gradually, then suddenly."  &nb ...
5
Ronchetti vows to amplify new voices at Capitol
ABQnews Seeker
Former meteorologist pledges to listen and ... Former meteorologist pledges to listen and bring change
6
Crisis center breaks ground to fill behavioral health care ...
ABQnews Seeker
The crisis triage center is expected ... The crisis triage center is expected to open in January 2024
7
National search for UNM top lobbyist yields six with ...
ABQnews Seeker
Michael Puelle, who has been working ... Michael Puelle, who has been working as Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller's chief of staff, was selected for the position and is scheduled to start ...
8
A 'Good Morning' costs me nothing
From the newspaper
We're all just people - thoughts ... We're all just people - thoughts from my morning walk
9
If a medical recommendation doesn't feel right, get a ...
From the newspaper
If the recommendation doesn't feel right, ... If the recommendation doesn't feel right, better seek a second opinion