Conservative legislators in several states, knowing that a Constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion is unlikely, have begun attempts to work around the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Most notably, these legislative attempts have involved, in some way, shape or form, the concept of personhood – the notion that a fertilized egg is in fact a human person, and, as such, is deserving of the full protections that our laws provide the rest of us, who are out of the womb, and breathing on our own. Attempts have been made in several states, including Mississippi, Oklahoma, Virginia, and, to my knowledge, all have failed. In spite of this, however, fundamentalist conservatives keep trying. Right now, for instance, attempts are being made in both Alabama and Georgia. And, Michigan Republicans, having already attempted it in 2009, are back at it again, with a clever, little twist.
The following comes from a site called RH Reality Check:
…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…
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 makes it clear that this move isn’t about family support, but about reproductive rights. Zach Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan, calls the move exactly what it is — redefining “personhood” via the tax code…
And, as State Representative Jeff Irwin recently mentioned to me, this new legislative push isn’t just misguided, but ironic, seeing as how many of the same people pushing for this new, pre-natal tax credit, voted in 2011 to kill Michigan’s $600 tax credit for real, living, “fully-formed” kids.
Anger aside, I’m curious as to how this would work, if enacted. Would you send in a pee stick with your personal income tax forms, or would you have to actually get a Social Security number for your fetus first? And what would stop you from terminating a pregnancy right after filing your paperwork, and qualifying for your $160? And would you have to give the money back at a later date, if the State were to determine that your baby never came to fruition? And, speaking of which, would the State have to employ a squad of investigators dedicated to the task of following up, and ensuring that these little tax deductions matured into babies? And, if so, how much would that add to the cost of the program, which, according to State projections, would already cost us up to $10 million per year in lost revenues? And who gets to claim the tax credit – the father or the mother?
I’m forwarding these questions, and a few others, along to Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Jud Gilbert, the sponsors of House Bills 5684 and 5685 respectively, and I’d encourage you to reach out to them as well… And, while you’re at it, you might also want to ask why they’re focused on this kind of nonsense when our public schools are failing, our infrastructure is crumbling, and our families are struggling to make ends meet. Oh, and you might also want to ask if they’re aware that abortions are down by 5% under Obama. (If they respond, let me know.)
[note: It should be mentioned that attempts are being made at the federal level as well, thanks to Paul Ryan and Todd “legitimate rape” Akin. For more on their proposed Sanctity of Human Life Act, and how, if enacted, it could create a situation where birth control is perceived as murder, click here.]