‘Our own money being used to fund our discrimination’
There has been an outcry from feminists all over the UK after it was confirmed that anti-abortion charity Life will get £250,000 cash from the UK's tampon tax.
Tampon tax is used to refer to the fact that feminine hygiene products aren't given tax exemption status, meaning women pay a 5 percent tax on them.
Products that are regarded as “basic necessity” and given exemption status include edible sugar flowers, alcoholic jellies and exotic meats including crocodile and kangaroo.
Life is a charity that actively campaigns against abortion under all circumstances, including rape, opposes plans for the expansion of sex education in primary schools and has previously been under scrutiny for publishing an unsubstantiated leaflet linking abortion to breast cancer.
A description on their website reads: “Life has been speaking out against abortion and offering a positive alternative to it since 1970.”
Today, Life published a blog post titled “The objectors to support for women should be ashamed of themselves” which outlined their views on the “Guardian-led media campaign” against them.
They commended the government on “its refusal to bow to pressure from the abortion industry and its political allies to try to stop funding for vulnerable women in crisis” and outlined that their grant from the Tampon Tax Fund would “provide a range of practical support to pregnant and homeless women”.
Life’s Education Director Anne Scanlan said: “The organisations and politicians who like to parrot a narrative of standing up for women but who now object to money being spent to look after vulnerable women in crisis should be ashamed of themselves.
“It exposes their true agenda which is not choice for women but the support and advancement of an industry which profits off of the plight of women in crisis through the termination of their unborn children.”
Although Life, who also received £49,000 from the Big Lottery Fund last year, will reportedly be “prohibited” from spending the money on publicity or on its controversial pregnancy counselling and education services, as put by Labour MP Diana Johnson, speaking to the Guardian: “Many excellent women’s organisations will have lost funding bids to Life. I am very disappointed that ministers have made this decision in light of the public outcry when this was first put forward.”
A spokesperson from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion provider, told Dazed: “It's absolutely right that tampon tax funding should go to organisations that support pregnant women, but it is profoundly disappointing that in this case the recipient will be spending resources that are freed up as a result campaigning to restrict the choices women have in pregnancy.
“It is not fitting for what is ultimately a tax on women's bodies to be spent in this way when there are so many other projects supporting women and their choices which have not benefited in this way.”
Last year it looked like the tampon tax would be abolished under European law.
After a lengthy string of online activism fought out on social media platforms, it was London-based demonstrations protesting the tax that catapulted the issue into the eyes of mainstream media.
The then-Chancellor, George Osborne, subsequently reduced the tax amount from 20 to 5 percent, and also introduced the motion that would donate all revenue from the tax to women’s charities, like Life.
Although this was a small success, the donation process in itself was met with huge scepticism from feminist campaigners – who suggested that the idea women should fund their own charitable causes was missing the point of the uproar in the first place.
Osborne also failed to honour his pledge to eventually scrap the 5 percent VAT on sanitary products altogether.