To IRS: Abortion Is Not Health Care

Julaine Appling

2020 | Week of August 17 | Radio Transcript

“Abortion is not health care.” That’s the opening sentence in a letter dated August 12, 2020, addressed to Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, and signed by over 100 US senators and representatives. To be exact, 23 US Senators and 80 US Representatives signed this letter.[1]

The purpose for the letter is to urge the IRS, which is a part of the Department of the Treasury, to stop considering abortions to be medical care. The second sentence clearly explains the first one: “Any procedure for which a successful outcome depends on the death of a living human being, born or unborn, cannot be considered health care.” Apparently these 103 members of congress want it very clear what they think about the life-taking procedure of abortion.

After the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on demand nationwide, the IRS reinterpreted the 1942 statutory definition of “medical care” in the tax Code to include abortion. As the signers of this auspicious letter note, this position is in direct defiance of the historic standard of medical care.  In the words of the letter signers, “…the willful killing of an unborn child has for over two millennia been explicitly proscribed by the Hippocratic Oath as inherently contrary to the ethical practice of medicine.”

What’s the net result of this unilateral decision by this bureaucracy?  This reinterpretation created tax breaks for abortions through the medical expenses deduction, as well as through health-care flexible spending accounts, health-care savings accounts, health-care reimbursement arrangements, and other tax-preferred health-care accounts and tax breaks that rely upon the IRS’s redefinition of “medical care.” In essence, this reinterpretation that deemed abortion as health care has meant that taxpayers fund and subsidize this heinous life-taking procedure that since 1973 has taken the lives of nearly 62 million unborn babies in America and over 535,000 unborn babies in Wisconsin.

So, if the IRS listens to these elected officials and correctly removes abortion from being classified as medical care, taxpayers—meaning you and I—will no longer be funding and subsidizing this grizzly procedure.

The signers cover a couple of other situations and then end the letter by restating the opening sentence as the first sentence of the last paragraph: “Again,” they write, “abortion is not health care, neither for the mother nor her unborn child,” and they clinch their argument in the last sentence: “We urge you to take swift action to issue new regulations to protect innocent human life by ending tax breaks for abortion under the guise of medical care.”

As I read this powerful letter that is absolutely spot-on from its initial assessment that abortion isn’t health care to the requests it makes of the Secretary and the IRS, I could hardly wait to see who had signed it.  I was eager to see how many of our Wisconsin delegation who have been elected on a pro-life position had signed on.  I was very disappointed.

Like every other state, Wisconsin has two US Senators, Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson. Johnson ran as being strongly pro-life. Based on our population, we have 8 representatives to the US House of Representatives.  Five of the 8 are Republicans, all of whom have touted their strong pro-life credentials: Bryan Steil, Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Tiffany.

Out of 6 possible Wisconsin elected officials who could have signed this letter because they have said during campaigns they are pro-life, only two signed on: Glenn Grothman and Mike Gallagher.

So, why didn’t the others sign on to this letter? I think that’s a question each one of these elected officials needs to be asked. Frankly, the only one I’m willing to give a pass to on this is Jim Sensenbrenner because his wife recently passed away.  I’m hard pressed to think why the others—and let’s name them again, Senator Ron Johnson and Representatives Bryan Steil and Tom Tiffany couldn’t find time or didn’t have the inclination to declare in a letter that abortion isn’t health care and taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund it or subsidize it.

Once again, we learn that far too often campaign rhetoric doesn’t always match up with action once elected. And by the way, Grothman, Gallagher, Steil and Tiffany are all up for election this fall.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”



Julaine Appling has taught on the junior high, high school, and college levels, and for five years was the administrator of a private school. In 1998 she was asked to become the Executive Director of Wisconsin Family Council, where her mission is to advance Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty. In addition to regularly being interviewed for Wisconsin television, radio, and newspapers, she is the host of "Wisconsin Family Connection," aired weekly on almost 50 radio stations in Wisconsin including the VCY America radio network.

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