Just hours after Cathi Herrod hosted Governor Dicey Doug Ducey as the guest of honor at her Center for Arizona Policy soiree on Wednesday, her Christian Taliban foot soldiers in the Arizona legislature passed a bill out of the Senate Health Committee to strip women of their right to purchase health insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange, including separate abortion riders, and also would require physicians who perform abortions to show proof of admitting privileges at a local hospital (one of the most popular tactics of the forced-birth extremists). State committee approves abortion restrictions:
Legislation to further regulate abortions in Arizona gained approval from the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, the same day the influential anti-abortion group Center for Arizona Policy held its day at the Capitol.
SB 1318 (.pdf), introduced by committee chair Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, would prohibit abortion coverage for women insured through the federal health-care exchange. It would also require physicians who perform abortions to show proof of admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The bill, which will move to the Senate floor pending a rubber stamp from the rules committee, passed along party lines during the heated hearing.
The legislation would remove an exception in Arizona law that allows women who receive insurance through the health-care exchange from obtaining coverage for abortions under an optional rider with an additional premium. The bill does not have an exception for victims of rape or incest who become pregnant, which opponents speaking at the hearing said was critical.
SB 1318 would also require abortion clinics to submit documentation that their physicians have admitting privileges at a hospital. Current law requires that a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles be present for all surgical abortions, but some interpret the new bill as saying that all physicians who perform abortions must have admitting privileges.
This is one of the most extreme forced-birth measures in the nation. It comes just hours after Governor Dicey Doug Ducey told Cathi Herrod that “I look forward to working with you on those issues.” Don’t expect a veto.
Typical of the testimony yesterday were statements like these (h/t Arizona Capitol Times:
Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, said 41 of the 199 available plans offer insurance coverage. And she said 90 percent of those covered under the Affordable Care Act getting some sort of subsidies. “So taxpayers are on the hook for elective abortions,” she said. “The intention is to protect taxpayers and their wishes in regard to what they see as an abhorrent policy, and that is the killing of innocent life in the womb,” said Barto.
Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, said the legislation is about whether taxpayers should be underwriting what some believe is killing of individuals. “Can you understand people that are pro-life, that they believe that it’s life at conception?” she asked.
When life begins is a philosophical question and, in this case, religious belief. When a woman is considered pregnant, however, is a scientific question. The Implications of Defining When a Woman Is Pregnant.
In fact, medical experts—notably the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)—agree that the establishment of a pregnancy takes several days and is not completed until a fertilized egg is implanted in the lining of the woman’s uterus. (In fact, according to ACOG, the term “conception” properly means implantation.) A pregnancy is considered to be established only when the process of implantation is complete.
Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
So sorry Sens. Barto and Lesko, your religious beliefs are not even close to being medically or scientifically accurate. Your religious beliefs do not substitute for medically accepted fact.
Worse, your attempt to impose your own religious beliefs through the force of law on all women, of other religious faiths or no religious faith, is a violation of the First Amendment. You are in fact establishing your religious beliefs as the basis for public policy, and you are interfering with the free exercise of others’ religious beliefs or matters of conscience, through the power of the state to compel and to punish. This is prohibited by the First Amendment.
What if other taxpayers were to insist on their religious beliefs to not pay taxes to “subsidize” government activities they oppose, like the Peace Churches: “Can you understand people that are anti-war, that they believe that all life is sacred?” Or The Catholic Church’s Anti-Death Penalty Position: “Can you understand people opposed to the death penalty, that they believe that all life is sacred?” It’s a slippery slope when you start picking and choosing amongst religious beliefs to establish as the basis for public policy, and to use the power of the state to compel and to punish.
By the way Senators, when it comes to conscientious objection to the payment of taxes on religious grounds, your position is not supported at law. Application of Section 6702 Penalty to Taxpayer Who Files a Return with War Complaint – Internal Revenue Service (.pdf):
Courts have consistently held as frivolous arguments that a taxpayer does not need to pay the full amount of Federal income tax due based on a “conscientious objection” argument.
See, e.g., Bradley v. United States, 817 F.2d 1400, 1403 (9th Cir. 1987) (“We have repeatedly approved the assessment of a section 6702 penalty for purported tax returns which claim ‘conscience’ or ‘war tax’ deductions.”); Nelson v. United States, 796 F.2d 164 (6th Cir. 1986) (upholding the applicability and constitutionality of a frivolous return penalty imposed against a taxpayer who claimed a deduction based on religious objection to war expenditures); Jenney v. United States, 755 F.2d 1384, 1387 (9th Cir. 1985) (“There is no provision in the Internal Revenue Code for a war tax deduction or credit, and taxpayers have no constitutional right to refuse to pay federal taxes because of their anti-war sentiments.”); Randall v. Commissioner, 733 F.2d 1565, 1567 (11th Cir. 1984) (“[A]rguments involving objections to the Government’s military expenditures as a basis for non-payment of taxes have been raised by taxpayers many times, and in each instance the courts have rejected them.”).
Accordingly, the IRS included in its notice of frivolous arguments the contentions that 1) the First Amendment permits a taxpayer to refuse to pay taxes based on religious or moral beliefs and 2) that the Ninth Amendment exempts those with religious or other objections to military spending from paying taxes to the extent the taxes will be used for military spending.
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The First Amendment does not provide a right to refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds or because taxes are used to fund government programs opposed by the taxpayer.
Because the senators cannot refuse to pay taxes based on their religious objection to not “subsidize” government activities they oppose, i.e., abortion, they instead abuse their position of power as state legislators to impose their own religious beliefs through the force of law on all women, of other religious faiths or no religious faith, in violation of the First Amendment.