- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 18, 2018

Two Republicans in Congress are asking the government’s chief watchdog Thursday to investigate how many abortion clinics have tapped taxpayer money in the form of tax-exempt bonds to fund their operations.

Rep. Robert Pittenger of North Carolina and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said they’ve come across at least four instances of abortion providers benefitting from municipal bonds — including construction of Planned Parenthood’s national headquarters in New York City.

But they said there are likely more instances they haven’t found, and they penned a letter asking the Government Accountability Office to do a complete study of what they call “abortion bonds.”

Federal taxpayer money is generally not allowed to be spent on elective abortions, but the two Republicans said the tax-exempt bonds appear to be a loophole.

State and local bonds are generally used to finance schools, roads and other infrastructure. Interest payments are tax-exempt and deemed secure, which make them attractive for investors — meaning lower interest rates.

The two lawmakers said abortion providers seem to go beyond the intent of the bonds.

“These tax-exempt bonds are designed to build up a community by supporting infrastructure, not tear down a community by subsidizing the willful termination of innocent life. Who in their right mind would consider an abortion clinic to be infrastructure? We intend to stop this egregious misuse of tax-exempt bonds,” Mr. Pittenger said.

They want their investigation to include the total number of bonds issued for abortion providers, the total tax benefits and the effects on the abortion operations.

“The nation is divided on the issue of abortion, but the government should not compel taxpayers to pay for abortions or subsidize abortion facilities. This is an egregious waste of government money and an injustice against innocent human life that should end right away,” Mr. Lankford said.

The Washington Times reported last year on legislation Mr. Pittenger had introduced to end use of tax-exempt bonds to assist abortion providers. That legislation has not advanced.

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