Anti-abortion demonstrators arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington through the March for Life in January.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
A provision within the 429-page Republican tax invoice that may let unborn youngsters maintain school financial savings accounts has spilled into the abortion debate, the place each side see it as a step to redefining youngsters within the womb as full individuals underneath the legislation.
Defining unborn youngsters as individuals has been a key objective of anti-abortion advocates, who see it as step one to unwinding courtroom selections that legalize abortion.
The invoice launched by Home Republicans Thursday would permit a “little one in utero” at “any stage of growth” to be designated because the beneficiary of school financial savings accounts, often known as 529 accounts. At present, beneficiaries should have a social safety quantity, however dad and mom can work round this by establishing a financial savings account for themselves after which designating their little one the beneficiary after delivery.
However the GOP invoice would permit a selected fetus to be named as a beneficiary earlier than delivery. It’s not clear whether or not eligibility guidelines would change or unborn youngsters can be given social safety numbers. However activists throughout the abortion debate learn the language as about one thing else altogether — instilling extra authorized rights on unborn youngsters.
“The inclusion of the unborn in 529 school financial savings plans acknowledges the humanity of the unborn little one,” mentioned Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Listing, an anti-abortion proper’s group.
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, whose group additionally advocates towards abortion, mentioned the tax change “acknowledges the personhood of unborn youngsters… A baby within the womb is simply as human as you or I but, till now, the US tax code has did not acknowledge the unborn little one.”
For the pro-abortion rights motion, the tax invoice is beginning to be seen as the latest entry in a line of Republican legal guidelines aimed toward rolling again abortion protections.
“It’s absurd that Home Republican leaders would use a tax invoice to attempt to advance their agenda to undermine entry to secure, authorized abortion,” mentioned Deliberate Parenthood vp of public coverage Dana Singiser.
The reproductive rights community NARAL Professional-Selection America accused Republicans of “inserting ‘personhood’ language into their tax invoice” in an try and “flip again the clock on this nation.”
It’s not clear the place the availability itself got here from. Employees for the Home Methods and Means Committee, who drafted the invoice, didn’t reply to requests for remark. It was additionally not one thing pushed for by the anti-abortion rights foyer, in keeping with Tom McClusky, high lobbyist at March For Life.
McClusky mentioned the invoice “smacks of elitism” as a result of it might solely profit households who can instantly begin saving for his or her little one’s school fund, whereas the laws additionally does away with the adoption tax credit score. McClusky mentioned anti-abortion rights advocates had as a substitute been pushing for the kid tax credit score to be prolonged to the unborn.
A number of Democrats additionally expressed puzzlement about how the faculty financial savings provision made it into the tax invoice. “I do know that it’s an try and legitimize the language that they embrace, which makes a fetus an individual,” mentioned Democratic Rep. Judy Chu, a co-chair of the Professional-Selection Caucus.
Lissandra Villa contributed to this story.