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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Treasury Department must take action to ensure that the expense of an abortion cannot be deducted from federal income taxes, more than 100 members of Congress wrote Wednesday in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“Abortion is not healthcare,” declares the Senate Pro-Life Caucus letter, led by Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana and Warren Davidson of Ohio. “Any procedure for which a successful outcome depends on the death of a living human being, born or unborn, cannot be considered health care.”
“Under Rev. Rul. 73-201 (1973) the IRS wrongly holds that amounts paid for any legal abortion are tax-deductible as ‘medical care’ under §213(d)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code – ‘for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body’ – and even prominently lists them as such in its Publication 502,” the letter explains. “This holding, in turn, creates tax breaks for abortions through the medical expenses deduction as well as through health flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and other tax-preferred health accounts and tax breaks that incorporate §213(d)’s definition of ‘medical care.’”
To correct this situation, the group calls on Mnuchin to “take swift action to issue new regulations” ensuring that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does “not consider abortions (except when the mother’s life is physically endangered) to be medical care,” and to “not treat premiums for health insurance that covers such abortions as medical care, unless in compliance with the law’s separate accounting requirements for coverage of non-medical care.”
The letter explains, “Under longstanding IRS regulations, [tax] deductions for medical care under §213 must ‘be confined strictly to expenses incurred primarily for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.’”
“In all but the most extreme circumstances, abortion is an elective procedure that has nothing to do with ‘the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness,’” the letter continues. “Pregnancy is a natural condition of the human body, for both the mother and her unborn child, and only rarely, if ever, does a pregnancy physically threaten the life of the mother in such a way that the mother's death can only be averted by abortion, rather than through other means such as early induction or Caesarean section. Therefore, the IRS must cease considering abortions (except in the case of physical endangerment to the life of the mother) to be medical care under §213(d) and its implementing regulations.”
“Every human life from the moment of conception is invaluable,” Braun said in a statement. “Taking the life of an unborn child through abortion is certainly not health care and should not be treated as such.”
Pregnancy Help News notes that the letter has been endorsed by the March for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life, Heritage Action, Students for Life of America, and other pro-life organizations.
Though federal law bars most direct funding of abortions, hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars flow to the abortion industry supposedly for other purposes. According to its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood received more than $616 million from the federal government last year while killing 345,672 preborn children. This year, Planned Parenthood affiliates improperly obtained between $65.8 million and $135 million in loans meant to help small businesses recover from COVID-19 restrictions.
The Trump administration has taken multiple executive actions to reduce the abortion industry’s federal funding, from reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy, which bars organizations involved in abortion from receiving foreign aid; to instituting the Protect Life Rule, which disqualifies domestic entities involved in abortion from family planning funds (the latter of which has cut off roughly a tenth of Planned Parenthood’s federal revenue). More comprehensive defunding of the abortion industry, however, would require President Donald Trump be joined by a pro-life majority in both chambers of Congress.