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Michigan Republicans Offer a Tax Credit for Fetuses After Cutting Tax Credits for Children

Tax cuts and anti-choice nonsense -- a perfect policy for today's Right.
 
 
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"Come January," reports the New York Times, "more than two-thirds of the states will be under single-party control, raising the prospect that bold partisan agendas." That's one way of putting it. In Michigan, where Republicans hold a super-majority in the state legislature, we can see how that may play out in the redder states, as lawmakers toy with the idea of a $160 tax credit for fetuses starting at 12 weeks of gestation.

As The Guardian reports that the bill is designed “to recognise that mothers have additional bills to pay.” I think we can all agree with that, but the rationale is hard to swallow in a state that last year cut tax credits for children -- actual breathing, eating kids.

If Republican Michigan lawmakers really believed in giving mothers a much-needed economic boost, wouldn’t they want to help them out after their kids are born? Especially since we live in a time of such widespread and devastating child poverty?

And that’s how we know the reasoning behind this bill is hogwash. What’s really going on here is a backdoor effort to pass a so-called “personhood” bill -- a piece of legislation that would give fetuses the same legal rights as people. Such laws, which have been proposed but proven unpopular with citizens in several states, could open the door to banning some forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization, not to mention murder trials for women who seek abortions and abortion providers. Even though voters have roundly rejected these bills, judges in some parts of the country are recognizing “personhood,” with tragic outcomes.

Michigan Democrats are appalled at the fetal tax credit proposal RH Reality Check’s Robin Marty reports:

"Clearly they learned nothing in June from 'vagina-gate,'" [Democratic Representative Barb] Byrum told RH Reality Check, referring to the summer's omnibus abortion bill debate, where multiple female House members were silenced by their Republican counterparts for daring to say the word "vagina" on the floor.

"Again, the Republicans are so out of touch," Rep. Byrum continued. "We need to be focused on creating jobs in the state. Last year, we voted to eliminate the child tax credit, which is about $600 a child on one hand, and now we are planning to give $160 credit to a fetus? This is absurd."

Absurd indeed. And one more thing we have to fight to maintain the status quo for reproductive rights in America.

Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, Time Out New York, the L Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter.