Pick-And-Choose Tax-Paying in Massachussetts?

Amie Newman

A proposed bill in Massachussetts would allow tax-payers to "choose" not to fund abortion programs for low-income women but instead fund a public information campaign for the state's Safe Haven law.

It used to be that anti-choice forces simply pushed for “conscience clauses” which, for all purposes, are basically anti-legal abortion protection mechanisms which allow health care providers to refuse to provide abortions – or pharmacists now to “opt out” of filling prescriptions for medication like emergency contraception which, in opposition to all medical and scientific evidence, they believe to be an abortifacient.

Now, anti-choice advocates in Massachusetts have proposed legislation which would allow certain tax payers to “opt out” of paying taxes for particular safety net programs to which they are opposed. Unsurprisingly, the programs are related to the ability of low-income women to access abortion. From the BostonHerald.com:

Under the measure, taxpayers could choose to have whatever portion of their state taxes pays for abortions or abortion counseling for low-income women directed instead to a public information campaign for the Baby Safe Haven Law, which allows parents to drop off unwanted newborns at police or fire stations and hospitals.

So now we’re at the point where we get to choose what programs we want our taxes to fund? This is not some sort of club for Venture Capitalists, right; it’s our government? Since when do we get to pick and choose? And is it not a little creepy to implicitly tell women, in this scenario, instead of choosing legal abortion, why not carry the pregnancy to term and simply drop the baby off on a doorstep?

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Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachussetts said, in response to the bill:

“…she had not seen the legislation but argued that tax dollars routinely go toward many things that an individual might not agree with.

“You don’t have an opportunity to opt out of a whole host of things that you might oppose,” said Miller.”

The group, Massachusetts Citzens for Life, is proposing a host of bills including one that requires a waiting period before an abortion, and mandating a physician gives a woman, prior to her abortion, a detailed explanation of the development of a fetus.

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