House Republican Opposition To Tax Increases Ends When Taxes Help Them Restrict Women

If there is one thing that House Republicans have taken a strident stand against, it is any measure that might bring additional revenue to the federal government, even with tax revenue at its lowest level in 60 years. The entire House Republican caucus recently voted against stripping tax subsidies from the nation’s biggest oil companies, and Republicans went all-out to prevent the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of taxpayers from expiring on schedule. Republicans have continually voted to allow multinational corporations to claim domestic tax credits on overseas profits, deriding attempts to reverse this policy as simply “tax increases.”

But House Republicans are evidently getting over their allergy for tax increases, at least when it helps them restrict a woman’s right to choose:

A Republican bill that would cut taxpayer funding for abortion aims to prevent women from using itemized medical deductions, certain tax-advantaged health care accounts or tax credits included in last year’s health care law to pay for abortions or for health insurance plans that cover abortion. Under common Republican definitions, limiting a tax benefit is viewed as a tax increase — which is anathema to the House majority. […]

The tax provisions raise a more complicated question because they would generate more money for the government. If a woman cannot use the itemized medical deduction — which is available for expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income — for an abortion, she would pay more in taxes than she would have otherwise.

The bill in question, H.R. 3, will be the subject of a hearing before a House Ways and Means subcommittee today. The bill would deny tax credits — and thus, by the GOP’s own definition, raise taxes — to both individual women and small businesses that provide their employees with health care that covers abortion.

As CAP’s Jessica Arons wrote, H.R. 3 “would impose blanket prohibitions on all forms of direct and indirect funding streams that might potentially touch on the provision of abortion care. Rather than securing the ostensible goal of shielding citizens who object to the use of taxpayer money for abortion — a questionable objective given that taxpayers are not similarly protected in other areas of controversial funding such as the death penalty or war — [H.R. 3] would accomplish the unstated end of making abortion as difficult to obtain as possible without actually criminalizing it.” And if that end has to be achieved by raising taxes, House Republicans seem prepared to say so be it.