Michigan Lawmakers Move to Establish Tax Credit for Fetuses

Last week, Michigan lawmakers introduced legislation that, if passed in the current lame-duck session, would allow pregnant women to claim fetuses of at least 12 weeks as dependents for income tax purposes.

Sponsors claim that House Bills 5684 and 5685, which could translate to a $160 dollar savings for expectant parents. “Money saved there could be contributed to doctor’s bills and all kinds of things,” explains Rep. Jud Gilbert, R-Algonac, one of the bill’s main proponents.

Considering that the politicians now looking to provide financial “help” for prospective mothers haven’t exactly had women’s best interests at heart over the years, critics are outraged at what is obviously anti-abortion, “personhood“-in-disguise legislation. Referencing the fact that these same lawmakers repealed a $600-per-child tax credit earlier this year, Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, testified, “It’s just ridiculous that the same people who ended the child tax credit for Michigan residents last year are now proposing a credit for fetuses.”

Mary Pollock of the National Organization for Women’s Michigan chapter worries that the proposed law is intended to lay the groundwork to establish even more rights for unborn fetuses:

In our view, these bills are an attempt to give some legal recognition to the unborn in tax law, which would then be used as a reason to give legal recognition to the unborn in other contexts, such as in criminal law or in health law. And so they are a not-so-subtle reason to establish personhood for a fetus at 12 weeks gestation so that abortion could be banned or punished thereafter.

In addition to suggesting that a fetus is more valuable than a child, this pair of bills would damage Michigan’s economy. The House Fiscal Agency analysis concludes that the state would lose between $5 million and $10 million each year in tax revenue as a result of the change.

So who would benefit from this proposed legislation? No one other than the anti-abortion lawmakers who are seizing yet another opportunity to violate a woman’s right to choose.

Photo of the Michigan House Chamber via Wikimedia Commons licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.


Rachel Kassenbrock is a writer who works at the Feminist Majority Foundation and blogs for Ms. Follow her on Twitter at @rkassenbrock.