Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Instapundit asks, "If Congress can tax plastic surgery, can it tax abortion?"


Right off the bat, I think an argument against this type of tax would be that it is very regressive. There is also the matter of taxing a protected right. The TaxProf Blog covers the latter angle.

Paul Caron writes:
"Although there have been various suggestions to tax abortion, a colleague tells me that such a tax would raise serious constitutional concerns. In Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue, 460 U.S. 575 (1983), the Supreme Court held that a Minnesota use tax on the cost of paper and ink products violated a newspaper's First Amendment rights. Although the precise contours of this doctrine are much debated, a tax singling out the exercise of the constitutional right of abortion would likely face special scrutiny. But a general tax on elective cosmetic surgery that also reached elective abortions may be permissible under the Minneapolis Star doctrine."
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