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Comments on H.R. 3, No Taxpayer Funding Abortion

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


* Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding Abortion bill. This bill prevents women who have private insurance plans from receiving comprehensive sexual health coverage even in cases when their health is in danger.

* It is extremely clear that Republicans are waging a war against women's rights by pushing a radical agenda that will primarily hurt poor and low-income women. An agenda like this only further proves that the Republicans are not interested in jobs and repairing our economy but instead more interested in divisive social issues that will not move this economy forward.

* Women and families need affordable and accessible health care more than ever before. This blatant assault on women's health needs to stop. As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure that all rights, including women's rights, are not violated through policies that only further limit access. We have to stand up and fight for the preservation of the rights for all women by defeating this bill.QUICK FACTS FROM ACLU

Who does H.R. 3 penalize? Bearing in mind the rationale underlying the tax code's treatment of medical expenses, as described above, a close examination of the Smith bill's tax provisions reveals that it serves to punish certain segments of the population.

Women: It should go without saying that the effects of the Smith bill will disproportionately fall on women, as women are the ones who are most likely to spend funds on abortion procedures. However, the Smith bill does not punish women exclusively. Many men purchase insurance policies that cover their spouses and dependents, and many use the funds considered in the Smith bill to pay expenses for abortion procedures for their spouses and dependents.

Low and middle-income people: The Smith bill would penalize low- and middle-income taxpayers. As described below, taxpayers who would be entitled to a subsidy for insurance purchased on an exchange would not be eligible for such a subsidy if the insurance plan offered on the exchange included coverage for abortion procedures. Thus, while wealthier taxpayers whose employers provide insurance premium subsidies would likely suffer no penalty to enroll in a plan that includes coverage for abortion procedures, taxpayers who must buy insurance on an exchange would lose a significant subsidy, and in all likelihood be effectively precluded from obtaining insurance with coverage for abortion procedures.

Small businesses: The Affordable Care Act provides for a tax credit for small businesses (businesses with 25 or fewer full-time employees) to encourage the provision of health insurance for their employees. The Smith bill's provisions would deny small businesses this tax credit if they were to offer insurance policies that covered abortion procedures. In all likelihood, this would have the effect of eliminating coverage for abortion for employees of small businesses.

Tax-Exempt Organizations: As described below, tax-exempt organizations are also eligible to receive the small business credit for the provision of health insurance (the credit is taken against employment tax payments). At a time when individuals are scaling back on charitable giving, small charities that would be eligible for the small business tax credit can use all the help they can get. The Smith bill would deny these organizations a crucial tax incentive, without which many of these charities would not likely be able to bear the cost of providing health insurance to their employees. Such a crucial incentive should not be dependent upon whether the organization provides insurance coverage that covers abortion procedures.

H.R. 3 rewrites long-standing tax laws and policies to impose a new penalty on millions of Americans (Section 303): H.R. 3 rewrites long-standing tax laws to penalize a single, legal, medical procedure: abortion. It would end certain preferential tax treatment for medical expenses and insurance premiums where abortion is involved.

Specifically, under the bill: Individuals eligible for the health coverage tax credit or who receive benefits from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation would not receive a credit on the premiums paid for insurance that covered abortion; small business employers who make a qualified nonelective contribution to purchase a health insurance plan that includes coverage for abortion would not receive a small business tax credit provided under the health care law; individuals could no longer claim the itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income; individuals who make tax deductible contributions to a health savings account (HSA) would be required to include in income any amounts paid out of an HSA when those proceeds are used for expenses relating to an abortion; any individual who uses funds from a health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) for an abortion would now be required to include those funds in their gross income for the taxable year; amounts distributed to an employee from a Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) account for purposes of reimbursing the employee for funds spent for abortion would be included in the employee's taxable income;


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