An Oregon man won an initial victory against the IRS last year in his determination not to pay taxes because they fund abortions.
Michael Bowman, a pro-life Christian, has refused to pay income taxes or file tax returns for more than two decades, National Review reports. He repeatedly has made it very clear why: He believes unborn babies are valuable human beings, and killing them is wrong.
Bowman lives in Oregon, one of 16 states that forces its taxpayers to pay for elective abortions through medical assistance programs. Nation-wide, taxpayers also give about half a billion dollars to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion chain in the U.S.
In 2018, Bowman won a victory in court when a federal judge dismissed one of the charges against him: felony tax evasion, the Miami Herald reported at the time.
However, tax litigation specialist Daniel J. Pilla recently cautioned that Bowman has not won his case overall.
Pilla explained in National Review:
Mike didn’t sue the federal government for the legal right not to pay taxes. Nor, for that matter, was the case a civil suit against Mike to collect the taxes. Rather, the federal government charged Mike with crimes. They accused him of felony tax evasion under code §7201 and four misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns under §7203. That is remarkably different from a civil lawsuit over whether one can be forced to fund abortion with one’s tax dollars if one is religiously opposed to such a practice.
In court Mike won on an important point. But the win had nothing to do with Mike’s underlying claim to a First Amendment right not to pay taxes so long as the government’s spending offends his religious beliefs.
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He said Bowman still faces four misdemeanor charges for failing to file tax returns, and could face prison time and a $25,000 fine.
“The question for Mike going forward is whether his anti-abortion stance will serve as a sufficient defense to acquit him of the charges. Unfortunately, that is not likely,” Pilla wrote.
Bowman is a self-employed computer software developer and owes at least $800,000 in back taxes, according to the Herald. It is not clear when he is slated to appear in court again.
Many Americans, like Bowman, oppose their tax dollars being used to pay for abortions. A recent national poll by Marist University found that a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, while 39 percent support them. Similarly, a 2016 Politico/Harvard University poll found that just 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it.