In an effort to define life as “beginning at conception,” Republicans quietly slipped anti-abortion language into the tax reform bill they released this Thursday, signaling another step in the pro-life movement’s plan to reverse Roe v. Wade.
According to The Huffington Post, the language is buried on page 93 of the 429-page bill and seeks to allow fetuses to be beneficiaries of college savings accounts.
“This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said in a statement. “The tax code is no place to define what constitutes an ‘unborn child.’ What’s next, giving a Social Security number to a zygote?
According to financial analyst Greg McBride, current law doesn’t prevent parents from setting up college savings accounts for their unborn children, making the pro-life language added to the bill largely unnecessary. “I don’t know how this makes it different,” he said, adding that it’s the equivalent of taking a “nonstop flight instead of changing planes.”
Parents use the widely popular 529 accounts to sock away money for their kids’ education expenses. The accounts come with a few tax breaks: You pay no tax on interest earned. And, if you use the money for education expenses, you don’t pay taxes when you withdraw the money, either. In some states, you also get a tax deduction for contributing money to a 529 account.
So-called personhood language also made an appearance in a draft strategic plan for the Department of Health and Human Services released last month. In a note about the department’s organizational structure, HHS said its mission was to protect “Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”
The draft tax bill also offers a tax break to another of the GOP’s favorite kind of people: corporations. The proposal would reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.
Actual human children and adults fare less well. The proposal gets rid of an adoption tax credit and ends popular tax deductions on medical spending and student loan interest. Although, perhaps if fetuses can save for college, kids of the future will rack up less in school debt.
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