LANSING — The same Legislature that got rid of the $600 per-child tax deduction on the personal income tax is now poised to create a dependent exemption for fetuses, a move strongly objected to by Democratic Representatives Jim Townsend (Royal Oak) and Vicki Barnett (Farmington Hills).
“There are so many things wrong with this bill it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s just ridiculous that the same people who ended the child tax credit for Michigan residents last year are now proposing a credit for fetuses,” Rep. Barnett said. “This obvious political stunt is yet another clear example of how out-of-touch the Republican majority is with mainstream Michiganders, and a startling indicator of how far they are willing to go to appease their extreme right-wing base.”
Townsend and Barnett spoke out against the proposal, House Bills 5684-5685, during testimony before the House Committee on Tax Policy meeting Tuesday. Barnett described the proposal as a back-door plan to establish fetal personhood in Michigan, a movement aimed at establishing full rights for fetuses with the ultimate aim of criminalizing abortion. Others have criticized the proposal as an invitation to commit fraud, as the credit becomes applicable once a fetus reaches 12 weeks, even if it is aborted or miscarried after that point — even though the same Legislature got rid of the tax credit for still births.
“Ensuring sufficient access to prenatal care should be a top priority of our state. Instead, Republican legislators today brought forward a bill to establish fetal personhood in the guise of a tax deduction,” Rep. Townsend said. “This out-of-touch and extreme measure would cause Michigan to stand out like a sore thumb in terms of denying women their sacred right to control their own bodies and their destinies. This bill is a divisive distraction that won’t help pregnant mothers or families or improve Michigan’s economy. If anything, it would signal to the rest of the world that Michigan isn’t ready for the 21st century economy because our social policy is being hijacked by people who want to live in the 19th century.”