A Surprise to No One, Republican Tax Bill Does More for “Unborn Children” than Real, Live Humans


Republicans! They never miss a chance to show their contempt for the living and their borderline obsessive veneration of a cluster of cells! And they’ve done it once more, sneaking the mention of “unborn children” into a doorstopper of a bill that will likely ruin the lives of those fetuses’ parents.

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According to a New York Times in a piece published last month, the tax bill includes language in an otherwise unremarkable passage on the plans that let families set aside money for a child’s college tuition that indicates that parents can establish such a fund in the name of their “child in utero.” While this sounds bonkers, it’s not new; the Times explains that couples who want to plan ahead are already allowed to set up 529 accounts for unborn children. What’s new is that if passed in its current form, the tax bill “enshrines into federal law the recognition of the unborn.” Meanwhile, the bill is less of a boon for people, and parents in particular, who’ve had the misfortune to have been born already.

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The Times spells this out, explaining that the bill makes it harder for immigrant parents to claim tax credits for their children, even those who are American. And bad news too, for kids in foster care. At one point, the bill proposed the rollback of the tax credit that families are entitled to when they adopt. Plus, the bill will tear into Medicaid and Medicare, the social services programs that keep millions of actual humans alive.

Slate delved into all the headaches (sorry, Advil is the best we can offer!) that this kind of inclusion could cause, but staff writer Christina Cauterucci sums it up well here: “Giving fetuses access to tax benefits could trigger an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie situation that ends with microscopic clumps of human cells getting birth certificates, marriage licenses, and political appointments.” Which is perhaps fair at least in the last case, given that some clumps of human cells could surely a better job than most of our current cabinet.

But the point is the implications are vast and impossible to predict now. What we do know is that however this shakes out, it won’t help women, who have a hard enough time proving that their lives have significance as it is, whether or not they happen to be carrying a fetus.



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