The Anti-Tax Party Wants To Tax the Exercise of the Constitutional Right to Choose

Republicans hate taxes more than anything, right? Well, no–they hate legalized abortion more, it seems. That’s certainly the case in the anti-choice hotbed of Kansas, where the GOP-controlled legislature, with the full support of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, is considering legislation that will, among other things, impose new taxes on everything connected with providing or obtaining a legal abortion. RawStory has the rundown:

Massive in scope, H.B. 2598 includes provisions being considered in other states as well, like offering doctors immunity from malpractice lawsuits if they do not inform expectant mothers of prenatal health problems that could lead to an abortion; a removal of important tax credits provided to most healthcare institutions; requiring doctors to lie to patients by claiming that abortions may cause breast cancer; forcing women to hear the heartbeat of their fetus before an abortion; and even prohibiting state employees from contributing to the teaching of basic sexual health facts.

The sales tax, however — an innocuous-sounding 6.5 percent — is layered, effectively making it a repeating tax on every service rendered, every product purchased and every sale made in furtherance of an abortion. It also strips certain tax credits for companies that do business with women’s health providers, making such requests a potentially costly proposition.

“This is a complete turnaround in this idea of small government,” Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told Raw Story. “Somebody spent hours, if not days, combing through the entire Kansas tax code to find every spot where you could possibly prevent abortion providers from being a non-profit healthcare provider. It’s really amazing. The bill is 68 pages long. Somebody spent days trying to figure out how to manipulate the tax code to disqualify abortion providers. That is a level above and beyond what we have ever seen.”

In these days of cookie cutter conservative state legislation, you best believe the Kansas experiment in taxing the exercise of the constitutional right to choose will have a lot of imitators in the months ahead.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.