House Panel Passes Bill to Remove Tax Incentives for Abortion

Conservatives applauded the House Ways and Means Committee for passing a bill that would eliminate tax benefits relating to abortion.

The measure, H.R. 1232, was approved in a party-line vote, 22-14, on Thursday. It now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.

"This legislation will ensure that not only will abortion funding be removed from Obamacare and the District of Columbia, but that the tax credits under Obamacare and tax incentives in current law will no longer create a government incentive to pay for abortions," commented Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

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Under the bill, taxpayers would be prevented from deducting the cost of an abortion from their taxable income and they would not be allowed to use tax credits to pay for health plans that cover the procedure. Women would also be prevented from using tax-free money in their health savings accounts for abortions.

The measure is a companion bill to the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which was sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) in an effort to effectively prevent federal funding of abortion.

Though current law bars federal dollars from being used for abortions, Republicans remain unconvinced that tax money will not go toward subsidizing abortions under the new health care law.

"The legislation is necessary because the Democrats' health care law included a massive expansion of the IRS' authority and concocted a host of ways to funnel taxpayer funds for various costs and procedures, including abortions," Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, told The Associated Press.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), commented to Bloomberg news, "We make sure that the destruction of an innocent human life is not something that is subsidized by this government."

In support of the legislation, pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List says the act will codify amendments, such as the Hyde amendment, that ban abortion coverage.

Since the proposal and passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, pro-life groups and conservatives have been on the battle lines, fighting against government subsidized abortions. They've called for explicit language prohibiting abortion services being covered.

"Americans should not be forced to pay for abortions, especially at a time when our country is facing an economic meltdown brought on by a failure to stop the out-of-control spending in Washington," Perkins argued. "Now is the time for Congress to finally restore government neutrality to the question of abortion funding and also applying the long-standing principles of the Hyde Amendment to our tax laws."

Perkins stressed that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and Camp's companion bill ensure that taxpayers are not spending "the estimated $72 billion in the next nine years" to pay for the abortion coverage of others.

Both also ensure that people can still purchase health insurance with abortion and pay for abortion, "just not with direct tax incentives," he added.

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