IRS Would Audit Abortions Under GOP Anti-Choice Bill

Mother Jones' Nick Baumann brings us this shocker:

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.

I was feeling pretty sure that we had found everything there was to hate about the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (aka HR3). But apparently not! As RH Reality Check's Robin Marty notes astutely, Republicans finally found something they want the IRS to spend taxpayer dollars on: uterine audits.

Baumann followed up on the story on Twitter this morning: "To those asking whether HIPAA would prevent IRS from getting abortion info: no. They prolly wouldn't even need a court order." Great.

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan responded to the story: "This bill gets more outrageous and insulting by the day. 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. 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.

It truly is all about the jobs for Republicans, isn't it?

Read the whole (incredible, sad, dispiriting, but important) story at Mother Jones.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at March 18, 2011, 4:59am

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