Lawmakers Are Using Tax Reform Legislation to Push an Anti-Abortion Agenda

Written by Sarah Alexander

In the latest draft of the GOP’s tax reform bill, lawmakers outlined a provision that would enable the naming of fetuses as beneficiaries of 529 college savings plans. The policy, and the language accompanying it, could codify the anti-abortion notion of “personhood” into law.

In the tax bill, lawmakers defined the term “child in utero” as “a member of the species of homo sapiens at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” This definition aligns with repeated anti-abortion efforts to pass personhood legislation and grant constitutional rights to fetuses.

The new provision is unnecessary, as expectant parents currently have the option of opening a 529 account during gestation and naming a new beneficiary upon birth. The real underlying cause for the amendment is clear: This is a blatant attempt to define life as beginning at conception and put abortion rights in danger.

“This is a back door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception,” claimed Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). “What’s next, giving a social security number to a zygote?”

The GOP’s plan for tax reform has already been exposed as a pushback against civil liberties. The legislative package wages war on key Affordable Care Act regulations surrounding reproductive rights. It proposes $1.5 trillion in cuts to funding for such programs as Medicare and Medicaid, and eliminations to key tax exemptions on healthcare for the elderly and disabled, repealing an effective medical expense deduction which allows individuals to write off out-of-pocket health care costs. But despite the Trump administration’s eager profession of the fiscal benefits of such reforms, the Treasury Department found that the current health exemptions cost the federal government $10 billion a year, while the plan to afford such tax breaks to large corporations would result in $225 billion a year in lost revenue.

The 529 modification to the tax bill is merely the latest in a slew of attempts by congressional lawmakers to propel an anti-abortion agenda. Last week, the House conducted a hearing on legislation that would ban abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy; earlier this month, the Trump administration unveiled new regulations which would allow employers, universities and even entire insurance companies to opt out of contraceptive coverage for their beneficiaries by citing religious or moral objections.

But the insertion of personhood language into the tax bill can’t be lost in the mix. This insidious attack on reproductive rights will endanger women’s lives. According to a spokesperson for NARAL Pro Choice America, the GOP’s proposal “is just the latest example of how they’re trying to turn back the clock on this country.”

This post originally appeared on Ms. Magazine

Photo Credit: bones64/pixabay

68 comments

Marie W
Marie W12 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Keely G
Keely Gabout a year ago

https://www.liveaction.org/petition/

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Keely G
Keely Gabout a year ago

Goodbye and good riddance,abortion!

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Karen H
Karen Habout a year ago

We need to tighten the reins on our misrepresentatives when it comes to spending our tax dollars. They're also using OUR money to pay off victims of their sexual assault.

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Freya H
Freya Habout a year ago

Now our non-representatives in the Senate have passed that horrid bill. Let's make sure that this victory is of the Pyrrhic variety!

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Amanda M
Amanda Mabout a year ago

Lenore, zygotes, embryos, and pre-viability fetuses are NOT people. WOMEN are people, and we deserve to have rights over our bodies and lives! If you're against abortion, the answer is simple: JUST DON'T HAVE ONE!!!! I swear to the Goddess that the anti-choice Religious Reich is stopping at nothing in their attempts to turn this country into some horrible mix of "1984" and "The Handmaid's Tale" in which men have all the rights and women are nothing more than tongueless brood mares and everybody had better lockstep to their twisted religious dictates Or Else. RESIST!

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Elaine W
Elaine Wabout a year ago

Fund planned parenthood, stupid. Make free birth control available ti everyone if you are really opposed to abortion.

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Freya H
Freya Habout a year ago

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/221/788/957/stop-h.r.-586-the-wrongly-named-quotsanctity-of-human-lifequot-act/

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Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a year ago

All these men making decisions about women.

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