by William Moultrie
Rock Hill, SC – The Obama administration rolled out a new tool this week to allow taxpayers to see exactly how their money is being spent. While advocates for government transparency are pleased with this new service, the breakdown has some Americans seeing red.
“Less than one percent of my taxes are going to pay for abortions?” asked Hallie Martin, an attorney and mother of two. “I’ve been following the budget debates in Congress and I’d been led to believe that at least ten percent of government spending was going towards reproductive choices, and that was fine by me.”
“Based on the White House website,” continued Martin, “only about $30 from my taxes are going to pay for abortions. It’s been a while since I had one, but at best that’s like a third of an abortion. That doesn’t seem right.”
This week, the White House launched ‘Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt,’ which allows users to enter the amount they pay in taxes and see a breakdown of exactly how much of that money goes to various programs and services. According to the site, the largest share of tax revenue goes to defense spending at 26.3%. Towards the end of the list is an entry for ‘Pregnancy Termination Services’ which accounts for .8% of the total.
“I certainly understand Ms. Martin’s and others’ concerns,” said Sonny Steele, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. “We’ve tried to get more money appropriated for reproductive services, but in this political climate, it’s tricky. She’ll be happy to know, however, that a small portion of the defense budget goes to pay for abortions for active duty soldiers. Actually, let me check on that before you print it — I’m not sure that information is cleared for release.” [note to editor - please don't print this until we hear back from Mr. Steele]
The administration has said the the goal of the ‘Tax Receipt’ is for taxpayers to gain a better understanding of where the money is being spent, and to cut through the rhetoric and misleading numbers that sometimes come from politicians and commentators.
“I can’t speak for the IRS or for Congress,” said Steele, “but if people out there feel strongly like I do about the need for more pregnancy termination funding, then they need to speak up and maybe the laws will change. I personally feel very strongly about this issue, even though I’m in a semi-monogamous homosexual relationship and am unlikely to ever have to deal with this sort of choice in my life.”
Hallie Martin is already planning to lobby her representatives to enact changes to the tax forms.
“I think a simple checkbox would help,” said Martin, “like the one to direct money to the presidential campaigns — something like ‘check this box if you want to double your contribution towards pregnancy termination services’ — it’s all about choice and people should have the choice to fund more abortions.”