When the IRS comes knocking it might not be about your taxes. The tax agency might in fact be curious about why you had an abortion. Why? Because the Republicans want to know!
Was it rape? Was it incest? Did you do it by choice? Why did you terminate your pregnancy? The tax man must know – at least that will be the case if a new bill passes in Congress.
Republicans in the US House are expected to pass a bill which would require the IRS, an agency they have previously argued be abolished all together, to audit an individuals’ abortion(s).
The IRS would inquire about how abortions were paid for and why they an individual opted to terminate their pregnancy.
To ensure ‘tax laws’ are met – the IRS must know if you’re pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. In addition, the law could lead to tax implications on abortions, including tax questioners asking about one’s abortion history and whether they kept a receipt or record of the transaction.
The Republicans are using the IRS in their fight to ensure taxpayer funds are not used to perform abortions. Converting tax cops into abortion cops is their first step.
The proposed law expands on the Hyde Amendment which bans taxpayer funded abortions with the exceptions of rape, incest and the mother’s life is at risk. Changes include making it harder to use federal credits or tax deductions towards abortions covered by one’s own insurance. If one did use such credits and found themselves being audited by the abortion police they would have to show a receipt that indicated their abortion transaction was due to either rape, incest or a threat to life.
The audit would prove highly intrusive and possibly psychologically damaging to any woman to fall victim to it – even if they fully complied with the law.
NARAL Pro-Choice America called the bill “outrageous and insulting.”
“Not only would a woman have to describe her sexual assault to the police, but she could then be forced to relive that horrifying experience with an agent from the IRS,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The 221 members of Congress who signed their names to this egregious bill must explain to their constituents why they want to give the IRS authority to audit rape survivors.”
“You can’t ask people to go out and ask some woman about what the circumstances are surrounding her abortion. They just won’t do it,” one former IRS agent told Mother Jones magazine.
“The Internal Revenue Service has no business interfering with a woman’s right to a safe, legal, constitutionally-protected medical procedure,” Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson told Mother Jones magazine. “Private health care decisions belong to a woman, her family, and her doctor—not a government auditor.”
In addition, the law remains very vague. The bill contains no instructions on how the IRS should enforce the new rules.
The bill has been called a “top priority” by Republican leaders. Meanwhile the US government has been unable to find a way to ensure its on long term funding, address rampant unemployment or solve a number of foreign policy conundrums.