Tuesday, July 31, 2007

H.R. 4041

Every now and again I run across something in the Stallings Collection that is completely perplexing. I can't usually mention those things because the collection remains closed to the public until January 2008.

However, in this case, H.R. 4041 (99th Congress, House Resolution 4041) the legislation is available via THOMAS (the Library of Congress website specifically designed for those interested in searching current and past legislation), so really all I am doing is introducing you, the reader, to the legislation. All legal, I assure you.

Two weeks ago when I first ran across H.R. 4041, it wasn't my doing. I remain buried in a box on mining and natural resources, but my fine co-worker (whom I might add volunteers his time to assist in completing the processing of the Stallings Collection) stumbled across the legislation in another box. The summary of the legislation reads:

Live Birth Abortion Revision Act- Amends the Internal Revenue Code to deny taxpayer's personal exemption deduction for a child who is born alive after an induced abortion or an attempt to perform an abortion and dies as a result of such procedure. Denies the deduction for abortion expenses unless the abortion was performed to save the life of the mother.

Denies the personal exemption deduction for the spouse or a dependent of the taxpayer if the taxpayer intentionally causes the death of such spouse or dependent.
Requires a court determination of an intentional cause of death.

On January 23, 1986 this legislation was introduced in the House and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

I have spent two weeks mulling this over in my mind. Rarely does something that crosses my desk grab my attention and force me to think as hard as this particular piece of legislation has.

I know from research (prior to and during the processing of the Stallings Collection) that Stallings took a position on abortion that wasn't particularly liked by the Democratic party, but not entirely surprising in conservative Idaho. I also know that Stallings occasionally co-sponsored legislation that would help reduce the number of abortions--legislation that promoted adoption and other alternative routes.

This particular legislation was co-sponsored by Stallings. THOMAS tells me that Stallings added his name April 23, 1986, to a list that included 57 others (Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, Jack Kemp, Dick Armey, Larry Craig, Duncan Hunter, and James Sensenbrenner, to name a few). I'm less surprised by the names on the list of co-sponsors, I've grown accustomed to and ultimately forgiving of Stallings' conservative streak and nature, but the legislation boggles my mind.

A fetus can live, even momentarily, after the performing of an abortion? I have done a series of searches about this topic and can't seem to find any reliable, medical information about it. I assume that if the U.S. House of Representatives saw it as a problem in tax code that they didn't simply dream up this scenario and it does in fact occur. How embarrassing if 57 representatives were confused on the matter.

Still...YIKES! The thought of this scares me a bit. It makes me really concerned about humanity in general. Not the thought of an abortion being performed, but the thought of what must be going on in the minds (and lives) of these people who so desperately need a tax exemption that they claim a child they never had.

If any one has any information on this strange scenario, I would love an explanation. I would love to finally get a grip on this very bizarre legislation that has had be wondering for two weeks now. I'd love to have a defense of my opinion on abortion if this scenario is in fact true and this sort of thing still happens.

As far as I can tell from the Congressional Research Service summary, H.R. 4041 was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and never again saw the light of day. I'm not patient enough to investigate this further--at least not patient enough to take a look at the Internal Revenue Code--is anyone that patient?


Adam Graham said...

Tara, when you get into later term abortions, they generally involve beginning the procedure of delivery or something similar.


The chances of surviving are thin, but do happen.

Tara A. Rowe said...

Thanks for the link. I'm going to take a look soon and keep digging, so to speak, until I understand this better.