Michigan Cuts Child Tax Credit, Suggests One for Fetuses

Michigan Cuts Child Tax Credit, Suggests One for Fetuses December 3, 2012

Remember how I wrote about the Pennsylvania legislators who want to deny increased benefits to women who have an additional child while on welfare? Well, I recently read about something similar going on in Michigan.

Republican representatives in Michigan have proposed to offer a $160 tax credit to any woman who was at least 12 weeks pregnant at the end of the year.  I’m sure that the basic idea behind the proposal is to assist soon-t0-be-mothers with their upcoming financial burden.  However, I read this proposal as a very strange next step for these reps to take after having slashed tax credits for actual children.  If lawmakers cared so much about children, why take funds away from the children that are here with us now?  I see this tax credit as something completely different – a reward for a woman being pregnant and not having an abortion.  Evidently, this proposal is still in the works, so we’ll see what happens.

Here are some additional links on this story:

Michigan Rep. Barb Bryum on “Fetal Tax Credit”: “This Is Absurd”

Lansing Republicans Pushing Tax Credits for Fetuses after Eliminating Tax Credit for Children

After Cutting Tax Credits for Children, Michigan Republicans Consider One for Fetuses

And it’s not just the child tax credit that was cut last year:

According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, 341,000 of Michigan’s children live in high poverty areas, and Michigan is ranked the 44th worst percentage (with No. 1 being the best or lowest indicator) of children living in poverty. An assault on working families has plunged more children into poverty by the Republican legislature’s decisions to slash funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child-care subsidy, which both helped low-income families.

I’m totally aware that pregnancy is expensive. However, expanding medicaid coverage so that more low income pregnant women are covered (something Michigan is currently resisting) and mandating paid maternity leave (something Michigan doesn’t do) would be more helpful for pregnant women than would a one-time tax credit for their fetuses. And more than that, pregnancy only lasts nine months while the legal responsibility a parent has to his or her child lasts eighteen years. Could any legislator really think that women are happy with the idea of gaining a one-time tax credit for their fetuses while losing yearly tax credits for their children, or things like child-care subsidies?

Growing up in the pro-life movement, I always thought the argument that pro-lifers care about people until they are born was ridiculous, and I still think that it’s often overblown. But as Michigan’s latest move makes clear, it’s a point that needs to be made. Republican policies make a lie of pro-lifers’ claims to care about human life from conception to natural death, and that needs to be called out.

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