When competing conservative priorities collide

WHEN COMPETING CONSERVATIVE PRIORITIES COLLIDE…. The House GOP effort to redefine rape generated the bulk of the attention about the bill, but the rest of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act” is still a mess.

Of particular interest today, is the fact that the Republican legislation appears to (cue scary music) raise taxes.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on H.R.3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would “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.” Doing so would force both women and small businesses that provide health insurance that covers abortion to pay more in taxes than they would otherwise.

As Bloomberg News’s Richard Rubin points out, under “common Republican definitions,” this can be “viewed as a tax increase — which is anathema to the House majority.” Even economic conservative Grover Norquist was “concerned” that the policy, “however well-intentioned or virtuous,” would “mask a net tax increase.”

And voting for a tax increase simply isn’t allowed.

Or at least, isn’t supposed to be. At the same time, though, Republicans are supposed to make it as difficult as possible for American women to exercise their reproductive rights, regardless of the fiscal implications.

What’s a far-right party to do?

“H.R. 3 takes the unprecedented step of manipulating the federal tax code to push an extreme anti-choice agenda, which is why the House’s tax-writing committee is granting it a hearing,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “This bill imposes tax penalties on small businesses and many individuals who purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion care. This begs the question – what incentive does a private-insurance company have to provide coverage for this safe and legal procedure if their customers are going to suffer a tax hike? Since 87 percent of private-insurance plans currently cover abortion care, the effects of H.R.3 would be devastating.”