Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 19, 2011

POLICING ABORTIONS THROUGH THE IRS.... In January, Nick Baumann took a closer look at the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," and highlighted an outrageous provision that would redefine rape. The language was ultimately removed after the ensuing controversy.

This week, Baumann put the spotlight on another problem with the same law, and this one may be tougher for proponents to change.

Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops -- that is, during an audit, they'd have to determine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

The proposed law, also known as H.R. 3, extends the reach of the Hyde Amendment -- which bans federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake -- into many parts of the federal tax code. In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits -- like credits or deductions -- to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.

So, on the one hand, the House GOP wants to undermine the IRS's ability to actually collect revenue -- ostensibly, the agenda's purpose -- but expand the IRS's power to determine whether specific abortions meet the standards of tax law's exclusions for rape or incest.

Americans can take some solace in knowing this legislation, while certain to pass the House, has no chance whatsoever of becoming law, at least not in this Congress. But that doesn't change the fact that House Republicans are not only pushing this odious bill, they've also made it one of their top priorities of 2011.

Those who voted for GOP candidates last year because they were hoping for a renewed focus on the economy may not have fully appreciated what they were getting us into.

Steve Benen 8:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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The patience to studiously mirror the stupefying contradictions and patiently describe them in flat language .
In times like these when not for me starts raise its rebellious head , better you than my quick temper still deals with the heat of two sticks in the mud being rubbed together .

Posted by: FRP on March 19, 2011 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

With the possible exception of Wisconsin, I don't think there's much buyer's remorse out there. In terms of this piece of legislation, I doubt enough moderate GOP women are willing to defect from their party in protest. Those ladies fall in line like the rest of 'em.

Posted by: BrklynLibrul on March 19, 2011 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

In keeping with the 7 year record keeping requirement for tax purposes, women who CLAIM to have had an abortion, will also be required to keep the fetus for 7 years as proof. I believe it is called the "Santorum Rule".

Posted by: DAY on March 19, 2011 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

To the State, and its male majority legislatures:

Leave women alone! Quit legislating things you know nothing about! Sit down and shut the fuck up! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 19, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Day, looks like we need to give Santorum another "Google problem".

Posted by: ComradeAnon on March 19, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Those who voted for GOP candidates last year because they were hoping for a renewed focus on the economy..."

It wasn't the economy that motivated the GOP landslide last year. If you remember, the young and Dems, people who care about the economy, stayed home, discouraged, while the old and ignorant turned out. What motivated GOP voters were the usual right-wing conservative non-issues: fear of uppity blacks, gays, Sharia law, abortion, health-care, communism and, of course, deficit spending by Democrats. The economy wasn't on their radar, unless by "economy" you mean "fear of uppity blacks, gays, Sharia law, etc."

So I suspect GOP voters are probably pretty happy about the government right now. Non-functioning, delusional and non-issues are exactly what they wanted.

Posted by: PTate in MN on March 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I put this up at another site yesterday. I figure some of you may enjoy it. And if you don't, oh well:

Ah, the IRS as an “Abortion Gestapo.”
Well, we don’t need the IRS to get involved at all.
Everyday citizens can do that work.
We have the technology!

We can make every woman run around with a camera and a monitor.

The camera would be in her uterus and would display what’s happening onto the monitor which she’ll be required to carry around at all times, just in case some passing butt-insky of a lifer (but I repeat myself), a "Life-guard," wants to make sure she’s not abusing the precious life within her, even if it’s just an unfertilized egg.

Anyone can hit a replay button on the moniter and check back on the past year to make sure that there was no developing fetus in there that’s not there anymore.

If it’s found that there WAS a fetus, the “Life-Guard” could make a citizens arrest and bring the woman to an “Abort Court,” where she would have to pay for procedures determining whether she had a miscarriage or an abortion - even if she had just done that yesterday - you can’t be too sure, you know.

These procedures would not be tax deductible, but the tax on them used to pay down our national debt, which abortion is adding to, since there’s less proles to work for corporate masters, thus denying the masters additional income worthy of their Galtiness, and the government from tax revenue from more people in the bottom 2%.

Why ‘belabor’ the poor IRS?
Since Bush, they’ve been very busy auditing the bottom 98% of wage earners to see if they’re cheating a few bucks on their taxes, rather than seeing if the top 2% are squirrelling away millions/billions in off shore tax havens. They’re much busier than they used to be. In free market terms, it’s called “volume.”

So, we have the technology!
All we need now is the will to use it.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 19, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Well, we're headed down a road that I predicted a couple of years ago, where the GOP passes a law that forbids the use of US currency for paying for an abortion.

I guess the payment will have to be in Euros, or for poor people, chickens.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on March 19, 2011 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

How about the Dems introduce a bill disallowing deductions for certain conditions or medications only affecting men? I suspect the Rs would howl about privacy concerns and then Dems could rightly point out "you started it".

Kind of a slippery slope, eh?

Posted by: Hmmmmm on March 19, 2011 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall some hysteria, generated by Republicans and conservatives, based on the belief that the IRS was going to be used to enforce the Affordable Care Act.

Posted by: 2Manchu on March 19, 2011 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

What are these guys, direct descendants of the colonial witch hunters?

What's it to them?

They must all have such disturbed or disturbing relationships to women that this thing which is in the very front of all their minds, this thing that they think will FINALLY get women back under their CONTROL is absolutely the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning and the last thing before they go to bed.

I will bet that none of these fanatics has a decent relationship with their 'women'.

Posted by: jjm on March 19, 2011 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

This is an extraordinarily sexist law; and, probably comes from men who wish to impose their own form of Sharia law on American women. It truly amazes me of how ignorant of the American woman these men are.

Posted by: Bonnie on March 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

With the possible exception of Wisconsin, I don't think there's much buyer's remorse out there. -- BrklynLibrul on March 19, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Ohio, too. Kasich's numbers are tanking with pleasant speed. Of course, buyers remorse doesn't help anyone *now*.

Posted by: exlibra on March 19, 2011 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I will be trying for an interview with a cable assembly manufacturer this Monday. I need this job.

Posted by: Johnnie Villnave on March 20, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK



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