Michigan considers tax breaks for women with 12 week old fetuses

Nov 21, 2012

Some Michigan legislators are working to give pregnant women a tax break for their fetuses.

The plan is to allow a woman to claim a 12-week-old fetus as a dependent on their state income tax return.

From House Bills 5684 & 5685:

would amend Section 30e of the Income Tax Act to allow taxpayers to claim a dependency exemption for a fetus that has completed at least 12 weeks of gestation as of the last day of the tax year and that has been under the care and observation of a physician since at least 12 weeks of gestation. The period of gestation would have to be determined by a physician.

The House Fiscal Agency estimates the tax credit would cost the state between $5 to $10 million in annual revenue.

Under the legislation, a 12-week-old fetus would be treated the same as a child for purposes of the tax deduction.

The bills got a hearing yesterday in a House committee and could come up for votes before lawmakers close their session in December.

The bills are sponsored by the following Michigan legislators:

  • Lisa Lyons (R-Alto) - (primary sponsor)
  • Kenneth Horn (R-Frankenmuth)
  • Nancy Jenkins (R-Clayton)
  • Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Twp.)
  • Ken Yonker (R-Caledonia)

The Associated Press reports that Republican Rep. Jud Gilbert of Algonac says the bills are an attempt to recognize that a pregnancy brings expenses.

The Michigan branch of the National Organization for Women is criticizing the legislation, saying it's an attempt to extend legal rights to the unborn.

What do some women think?

Amanda Marcotte wrote this on Slate's XX factor blog - What Women Really Think:

This bill really demonstrates the exciting new extremist direction of anti-choice nutttery—the bill author's Todd Akin-style imagined reality, where ob-gyns are fetus doctors instead of lady doctors, is particularly charming. But what makes this even more offensive than the norm of offensiveness we've grown used to is that Michigan just slashed a bunch of tax relief for actual children.

Marcotte is referring to votes in the Michigan legislature that have cut benefits that support children in Michigan, such as the state Earned Income Tax Credit and cash assistance welfare benefits.