One of the jokes I have often made about so-called personhood amendments is that if you give a fertilized egg full rights as a person, you should get to claim them on your taxes, too.
Suddenly, that joke is a lot less funny.
Michigan Republicans are now pushing a bill that would grant a tax credit to any fetus proven to be at least 12 weeks along by December 31st. Calling it an “advance” on the actual tax break the family would receive the next calendar year, the GOP frames the financial help as a chance to offset expenses with pregnancy.
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“You’re recognizing the fact that people have additional expenses, another person to take care of,” [bill sponsor Rep. Jud] Gilbert said of the rationale behind allowing fetuses to be claimed as income tax exemptions. “Money saved there could be contributed to doctor’s bills and all kinds of things.”
The bill, if it passed, would provide about $160 per family and would cost the state $5 million to $10 million per year, according to the report. Hospital costs associated with a pregnancy tend to range in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, especially for women without health insurance. In the meantime, the state has continued to fight against the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the state insurance exchange.
The lack of financial impact the tax credit would offer families make it clear that this move isn’t about family support, but about reproductive rights. Zach Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan, calls the move for exactly what it is — redefining “personhood” via the tax code. He said in a press release:
“This is really a backdoor way of passing extreme personhood legislation, which has been rejected by voters in states across the country. Even worse, this would create a special new tax credit for unborn fetuses, after Lansing Republicans eliminated the tax credit for living, breathing children last year. It’s time for our elected leaders to get their priorities straight and start working together to create good jobs and improve education.”
Provide extra support for a fetus while cutting off aid to those who are born? Anti-choice politicking at its best.