A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 28, 2016
“Are birth control pills tax-deductible?"/"Only if they don’t work.”

What’s tax deductible? There’s an old joke:

Q: Are birth control pills tax-deductible?
A: Only if they don’t work.


In 1967, a newspaper article said that birth control pills are tax deductible if the life of the mother is in question. In 1973, the Internal Revenue Service said that birth control pills ar tax-deductible.

The joke has been cited in print since at least 1969 and 1970. Although the joke hasn’t been relevant since 1973, it’s still frequently told.


14 November 1967, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), pg. 14, col. 6:
‘Pill’ Now Deductible
If Mother’s Life Endangered

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (UPI)—Birth control pills are tax deductible if a doctor feels childbirth would seriously threaten the life of the mother, a group of accountants was told yesterday.

31 May 1969, Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald, “Taxmen Deal WIth Unusual” by Nick Van Ryn, pg. 18, col. 4:
“Some o( the phone calls we gel really make the day. Like the wom-en who called in to find out if the cost ot birth control pills is tax deductible. We tell them it isn’t, but if il doesn’t work they’ll be sure lo get a deduction next year.”
(Ray Aldous.—ed.)

9 July 1970, Lewiston (ID) Morning Tribune, “Checking Up” by L. M. Boyd, pg. 19, col. 8:
Q. “Are birth control pills tax deductible?” A. Only if they don’t work, I’m told.

Google News Archive
11 April 1973, Gadsden (SC) Times, “Birth Control RUled Tax Deductible,” pg. 3, col. 2:
WASHINGTON (AP)—The costs of abortions, vasectomies and birth control pills are now tax deductible, under a new ruling by the Internal Revenue Service.

11 August 1982, Grandview (Manitoba) Exponent, pg. 14, col. 5:
Patient to Revenue Tax Director: “Are birth control pills tax deductible?”
Reply: “not unless they don’t work.”

Google Books
A Guy Goes to the Doctor-- :
The World’s Best Doctor Jokes

By Bob Fraser
Los Angeles, CA: Price Stern Sloan
1992
Pg. 11:
A lady goes to her doctor with a question.
“Are birth control pills tax-deductible?” she asks.
“Only if they don’t work.”

Google Groups: rec.humor
Need birth control jokes
Jack Kemp
9/4/96
(...)
Are birth control pills tax deductible?
Only when they fail!
I think I ripped that from Ann Landers.  Ha Ha

Google Books
A Prairie Home Companion
Pretty Good Joke Book

Edited by Brian Becker
Minneapolis, MN HighBridge
2003
Pg. 18:
Birth-control pills are tax deductible, but only if they don’t work.

Twitter
Yume
‏@eyesofindigo
“Are birth-control pills tax-deductible?” - Girl
“Only if they don’t work.” - Preparer
5:12 PM - 18 Mar 2009

Twitter
Monica Beckett
‏@moniemouse
Q: Are birth control pills tax deductible?A: Only if they don`t work
6:54 PM - 27 Jun 2009

Google Groups: 18++ ›
18++ 7 Sep 2009
Chirag
9/6/09
(...)
Dear Abby: Are birth control pills Tax Deductible?
Abby: Only if they don’t work!

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)
TUESDAY, JAN. 26, 2016
Editorial: Increase birth control access
To amend an old joke: Are birth control pills tax deductible? Only if they’re not taken.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, January 28, 2016 • Permalink