The Abortion Tax
The Republican plan to prevent your abortion by holding your tax money hostage.
What about that stuff in the Republican platform about social engineering? Never mind. When it comes to abortion, the GOP and its pro-life allies regard the tax code, like federal appropriations, as a legitimate tool for steering our choices. "Both tax-preferred status and appropriations have been recognized in the courts as being allowed for a public good," Chairman Franks said Tuesday. "Abortion is not a public good. … Governments should still have the right to shape the tax code in favor of a public good or against something that they consider … is not a public good."
Doerflinger testified that "the purpose of a federal funding ban is to use the government's funding power to encourage childbirth over abortion." He quoted the Supreme Court: "By subsidizing the medical expenses of indigent women who carry their pregnancies to term while not subsidizing the comparable expenses of women who undergo abortions … Congress has established incentives that make childbirth a more attractive alternative than abortion. …" The No Taxpayer Funding bill would simply extend this incentive strategy, through the tax code, from the poor to the middle class. In this way, Doerflinger explained, it would apply "to all branches of the federal government the principle that government can encourage childbirth over abortion through its funding power."
That's what the new abortion bills are about: turning your tax money into "funding power" that the government can use to shape your behavior. When he announced the No Taxpayer Funding bill, House Speaker John Boehner promised that it would assure people "their tax dollars are never used to fund abortions." He was right. He just didn't tell them that the abortions, like the tax dollars, were their own.
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
Photograph of John Boehner by Alex Wong/Getty Images.