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Health Savings Accounts should not fund elective abortion

By Virginia Foxx, The Hill

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Washington, April 13, 2017 | comments
Since 1973, at least 54 million children's lives have been tragically taken by abortion in the United States. It is unconscionable that in America, where we fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we tolerate this systematic extermination of an entire generation of the most vulnerable among us.

The majority of Americans recognize this tragedy for what it is, and there is consensus among them that they do not want their tax dollars paying for a practice they sincerely oppose. A recent Marist poll found that 61 percent of Americans object to using tax dollars to fund abortions.

As a result, the Hyde amendment has been included in relevant appropriations bills since 1976 to prohibit federal funding of abortions. Each year it has been consistently renewed and supported by congressional majorities and presidents of both parties. However, financial incentives for abortion still exist within U.S. law and that is fundamentally unacceptable.

For example, individuals with high deductible health insurance plans are eligible to open health savings accounts. Contributions to these accounts are tax deductible while the interest or other earnings on the assets in the accounts are tax-free. Participants can withdraw funds from the accounts on a tax-free basis to cover qualified medical expenses. Currently there are no restrictions to prevent these tax-favored health savings accounts from being used to fund elective abortion.

It is unconscionable to force millions of taxpayers who oppose abortion to provide tax advantages for abortion expenses, particularly when such advantages are barred for other controversial uses. Congress has already established limits on withdrawals from health savings accounts by establishing qualified medical expenses. Certain procedures such as elective cosmetic surgeries have been excluded from eligibility. Abortion is not health care, and it should not be considered a qualified medical expense. That’s why I have introduced H.R. 2019 to right this wrong.

Life is the most fundamental of all rights. It is sacred and God-given, but millions of babies have been robbed of that right in this, the freest country in the world. That is a tragedy beyond words and a betrayal of what we, as a nation, stand for.

One day, I hope it will be different. I hope life will cease to be valued on a sliding scale. I hope the era of elective abortions, ushered in by an unelected court, will be closed and collectively deemed one of the darkest chapters in American history.

However, until that day when a culture of life takes hold in the United States and all children are protected under the law, it remains our solemn duty to stand up for life. In recognizing the majority of Americans’ views that their tax dollars should not be used for abortion, H.R. 2019 is one small step in this direction.

Foxx represents North Carolina's 5th District.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/328661-health-savings-accounts-should-not-fund-elective-abortion


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