Elkins physician rally’s for tax breaks in feminine hygiene products


ELKINS — Local physician Anne Banfield, MD, has joined fellow health advocates in asking lawmakers to eliminate the “tampon tax and period poverty”.  Three states have passed laws to remove sales taxes on period-related products in 2021, 27 states still tax these items.

Banfield is an obstetrician and gynecologist, and the Director of Women’s Health Care at Davis Medical Center in Elkins, WV. She recently contributed to an article, Lawmakers Tackle “Period Poverty” with Tax Cuts, School Supplies written by Aallyah Wright, outlining the challenges low income patients face in obtaining feminine hygiene items.

“These are items of necessity not luxury, and they should be more accessible, especially for low income girls and women,” said Banfield.

The article describes “period poverty” as inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and education.  Banfield said the problem has worsened during the covid crisis.

“Women don’t come to their physician and tell them that they can’t afford pads and tampons and menstrual cups and period underwear and all those sorts of things,” she said.  “They are ashamed to talk about financial challenges.”

Dr. Banfield hopes that as more officials become aware of this issue, more laws will be passed to exempt menstrual products from sales tax.

Through a partnership with the local Women’s Aid in Crisis/Centers Against Violence, Dr. Banfield initiated the donation of feminine hygiene products to local women in 2018.  Women’s HealthCare at Davis Medical Center continues to support the program.

Dr. Banfield is a graduate of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, and completed her residency at Western Pennsylvania Hospital.  She serves as a board member on the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership and is Co-Chair of the West Virginia Tobacco Free Families Advisory Council.

She is also a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist, and is a Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Dr. Anne Banfield is the Director of Women’s Health Services at Davis Medical Center, where she has practiced for over 11 years.

To learn more about how lawmakers are tackling period poverty go to: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/07/12/lawmakers-tackle-period-poverty-with-tax-cuts-school-supplies.

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