Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri spent International Women’s Day advocating for women – or so we’re sure he thought. He’s a supporter of the GOP’s plan for repealing the ACA, which includes restricting women’s access to healthcare via Planned Parenthood, and also severely restricts a woman’s right to make choices about her own body. But the 10 percent tax on tanning salons? That has to go because it disproportionately harms women, and he will make sure it goes.
“I wanted to see who predominantly is taxed with this tanning tax. Is it men? Is it women? So I went to a little Google search,” he said. “What I found on Google is roughly 80 percent of who’s taxed are women. So out of the $600 million that has been created by this tax … $480 million has come from the backs and the pockets of women.”
“Today’s International Women Day,” noted Smith, who has advocated for legislation that would defund women’s health clinics. “It’s interesting that no one is bringing that up.”
While yes, we could make the argument that we’re unfairly taxing women with the tanning bed tax, we have to think about the fact that tanning beds also disproportionately harm women. Tanning beds aren’t healthy. They’re a leading cause of skin cancer behind the sun (and Smith wonders why we don’t tax the sun…oh please). They’ve led to a massive increase in skin cancer in women under the age of 30.
They’re also a complete luxury, unlike things like pads and tampons, pap smears, mammograms, pre-natal care, maternity care, hormonal contraception, and yes, abortion. Where is he on all of this stuff? If not taxing women unfairly is so important to him, where was the impassioned plea for states to stop taxing women for pads and tampons?
As far as abortion, he believes in shifting from abortion to adoption, and overturning Roe v. Wade, which is just going to send us back to the days of back-alley abortions, coat hanger abortions, and women dying because of these things. It could also lead to more women unnecessarily dying in childbirth, or being forced to carry a non-viable fetus (even a dead fetus) to term. Why is he not pleading for Congress to make sure none of this happens by enacting legislation that’s proven to lower the abortion rate and improve the odds for pregnant women and their babies?
This is a man who’s dismissed the idea that cutting Medicaid, including its funding to Planned Parenthood, would leave more Americans without coverage. Stripping Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood would leave low-income women without access to basic women’s care and birth control, which is most of what they do.
But no, the tanning bed tax is the worst thing we ever did to women, in his view.
If he wants to stand up for women’s rights, he’d stop with his faux, pseudo-feminist pleas and actually work towards policies that have been proven to help women and their families, and lower the abortion rate. This is just shameful.