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Fetal tax deduction: tax break or "back door abortion ban?"

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Abortion rights advocates are questioning the intent of a billthat would allow expectant parents in Michigan to claim a child tax deduction.

State Senator Tom Barrett’s (R-Potterville) bill would change the state’s tax code to allow a 12-week-old fetus to be eligible to be declared a dependent on state income tax forms.

He says Senate Bill 393 recognizes the expenses expectant parents rack up before their child is born.

“Really, it’s designed to give parents a little bit of an acknowledgment of that and provide them with the ability to claim the child tax credit in anticipation of the arrival of their baby,” says Barrett.

But Cayley Winters believes there is another reason. Winters is a spokeswoman for Progress Michigan.

She believes Barrett is trying to create a “back door abortion ban," by creating a "personhood" standard.

“People have to remember that this is one part of a larger strategy to try to make abortion illegal, inaccessible and to criminalize abortion,” says Winters. 

Barrett insists he’s not trying to create a back door abortion ban with his bill.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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