Mistrial for pro-lifer refusing to pay taxes for 20 years: ‘I’m not going to fund the death of kids’
August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The case of an Oregon man refusing to pay taxes because he does not want to fund abortions has ended in mistrial.
Michael Bowman said his conscience prohibits him from paying his taxes because of tax dollars going to abortion, and that forcing U.S. citizens to fund abortion is unjust.
“I have a conscience and I'm not going to fund the death of kids, that's it,” Bowman said. “If a woman’s got to do it, just don't make me pay for it. Where is equal justice? Where’s equal justice in this?”
Bowman has not filed his taxes since 1999, though he was not charged with a crime until 2017. After 11 hours of deliberation, his case in federal court ended in a mistrial Friday because the jury could not reach a verdict, Portland NBC affiliate KGW8 reports.
Bowman had faced misdemeanor charges for willful failure to file a return beginning in 2017. He’d initially been charged with felony tax evasion as well, but his lawyer succeeded in getting that charge dismissed for lack of evidence.
He objects to paying his taxes for religious reasons, he said, and does not want his money to subsidize abortion.
“It’s unfair to Christians that actually care about their fellow human beings,” Bowman said. “It's unfair when it impacts their conscience. We don’t force people to do what we think and the very definition of freedom is, we all should be free to do what we want to do, as long as it's not attacking other people, and they're definitely attacking us.”
Bowman believes that the First Amendment, the Oregon Constitution, and the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protect his right to make this choice, and maintained that he is innocent.
“We have a state constitution and federal constitution and federal law that says the government has to accommodate us, and so the only one in the courtroom who followed the law to the letter was me,” he said. “They broke the law. They didn’t want to hear the evidence. They were too afraid.”
The government has not indicated whether it plans to re-file the charges, the NBC report said.
Bowman’s lawyer, public defender Matt Schindler, said he and Bowman have a meeting with the judge this week, and he’s expecting to have to take Bowman’s case to court again.
“They want to make sure that everyone knows you can’t object to abortion and not pay your taxes,” Schindler said. “And it concerns me as a taxpayer because at the end of the day, who cares if Mr. Bowman doesn’t file a form if the government’s out doing its job, which is to clean out his bank account, take his car, and collect taxes.”
Though the IRS did not collect money Bowman owed, Schindler said the Oregon Department of Revenue did, and has been collecting money from Bowman’s bank account. The IRS could have been doing the same under the law, but said again they did not and now cannot until the case is resolved.
Bowman said he is ready for another court battle should the charges against him be re-filed.
“My reaction would be this,” Bowman said. “They put me on the stand, they know what kind of witness I am, and round two, they haven’t seen anything. I've learned.”
Earlier this week Planned Parenthood announced it would officially withdraw from the Title X program and forgo nearly $60 million in taxpayer funding rather than obey a Trump administration rule mandating that it separate its abortions from the rest of its operations.
Efforts by pro-life supporters to defund the abortion giant of its roughly half-billion in annual taxpayer funding have been in progress for years.