Why Taxing Abortion Is Bad Policy, Kansas Pro-Life Bill Well-Intended But Wrong

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Why Taxing Abortion Is Bad Policy, Kansas Pro-Life Bill Well-Intended But Wrong

by Tom McClusky
May 7, 2010

LifeNews.com Note: Tom McClusky is the Senior Vice President of Family Research Council and FRC Action, its legislative arm that has been lobbying against the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.

A pro-life Senator in the Kansas state legislature introduced a proposal to impose a sales tax on abortion in an attempt to possibly raise money and hopefully reduce abortions. While I applaud her intentions and share her goal of wanting to get rid of the scourge of abortion, I think taxing it is a pretty horrible idea.

When you tax something, especially targeting something specific, it creates a revenue stream that politicians get addicted to – thus making the object of your taxation harder to eliminate.

Taxing something also gives it legitimacy in the eyes of many. Even objects that fall under the so-called category of “sin taxes” have this legitimacy – almost as if being taxed gives you government approval.

Morally it is also troubling. Governments should not be profiting from abortion – no matter how profitable. While certainly not the intention of the author, but it would be the result.

The well-meaning Senator who proposed the tax stated that “If you want less of something, you tax it.” Is that really true?

Smoking has gone down over the last few years, but I’d lie that at the feet of the anti-smoking campaigns and outright bans of smoking in most public areas. Alcohol is heavily taxed, yet still consumption goes up. The same is true for gasoline. Federal, State, and local government taxes (not including county and local taxes) accounted for about 15% of the national average retail price of regular gasoline in February 2010 (Federal take was 18.4 cents per gallon and State taxes averaged 22.01 cents per gallon.)

However, in 2008, the United States consumed about 137.80 billion gallons (or 3.28 billion barrels) of gasoline. Consumption in 1998 was about 126.52 billion gallons (or 3.01 billion barrels).

You want to reduce or eliminate abortion in your state? Pass pro-life laws that expose the horror of abortion (ultrasound, parental consent laws, support for pregnancy care centers) etc.).

And if you are a state that has passed many of these laws, which I believe Kansas has, elect legislators and attorney generals that ensure these laws are enforced strictly –- many are not.

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