The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit challenging HB 2384, which was signed by Governor Brewer earlier this year. Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) drafted and supported this legislation that ensures that donations to organizations that provide, promote, or provide referrals for abortion do not qualify for the state’s Working Poor Tax Credit.
The misguided lawsuit claims that HB 2384 violates the First Amendment rights of some organizations in Arizona because the policy is favoring life over abortion.
Yet the ACLU’s claims are in stark contrast to consistent precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court that government entities are allowed to create programs that support one type of behavior over another.
“There is no legitimate free speech issue here. Our nation’s highest court has said time and time again that government entities can offer benefits supporting childbirth over abortion,” said Center for Arizona Policy Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby. “The longstanding public policy of our state is to promote life, and that is what HB 2384 does.”
The Legislature created the tax credit program to promote its own policy of ensuring that citizens’ immediate basic needs are met. This is a narrowly-crafted program, with specific parameters, for which less than five hundred organizations qualify. There are thousands of non-profit organizations that do not qualify, and this does not create any constitutional problems.
“In passing this bill, the Legislature rightly said that abortion does not qualify as an ‘immediate basic need’ and is therefore not the type of service that the charitable tax credit is seeking to promote. This legislation will not block one woman from having an abortion if she chooses,” said Sheasby.
Read more about Working Poor Tax Credit from the Department of Revenue here: http://1.usa.gov/fMLyAq
Read Center for Arizona Policy’s fact sheet on HB 2384 here: http://bit.ly/orlChc
Read HB 2384: http://1.usa.gov/ro4ePE