A front-page article Dec. 8 misconstrued the National Women's Health Network's action in the suit, ARM v. Baker. As one of several plaintiffs in the case against the IRS, the network is suing the IRS because it unfairly enforces statues concerning nonprofit organizations. We believe that the IRS is obliged to treat all tax-exempt organizations equally. In this suit, we use the example of the IRS's tolerance of support of political candidates by the Roman Catholic Church, a clear violation of the Internal Revenue Code.
Rallying to provide financial and verbal support for candidates is strictly prohibited for organizations that have been granted tax-exempt status. Yet, numerous examples exist of cases in which the Catholic Church has printed in its official newspapers articles endorsing candidates by name and has donated money to groups that actively promote political candidates. We are urging the IRS to revoke the Catholic Church's tax-exempt status not on the grounds that our views on abortion differ from those of the Catholic Church (as implied by the article) but because the Catholic Church has spearheaded activities that are clearly prohibited for tax-exempt organizations.
Joining the network in this are members of the Catholic Church who disagree with the church's stand on abortion, leaders of Protestant denominations and Jewish groups and public interest groups. We and the other signing nonprofit organizations have abided by the regulations restricting political activity. The suit aims not to force the Catholic Church to stop taking political actions, but merely to halt the use of citizens' tax-exempt dollars to support antichoice candidates. VICTORIA LEONARD Executive Director National Women's Health Network Washington