The Tax Bill Includes Language Designed to Undermine Abortion Rights

The House is expected to vote this week on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and tucked in the legislation is language intended to advance an anti-choice agenda.

The House bill includes a provision that an “unborn child” can be designated as a beneficiary for 529 college saving accounts, defining “unborn child” as a “child in utero” at “any stage of development.”

This isn’t about making college savings plans more accessible — people can already start these savings accounts in their own names before they have children and transfer them to their kids later. This is about laying the foundation for attacks on a woman’s constitutionally protected right to abortion.

Lawmakers in Congress are now attempting to use a tax bill to advance an assault on women’s constitutional rights.

The reason this provision has been included is to incorporate language into federal law aimed at undermining Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion rights. It’s part of a larger strategy by opponents of abortion rights to chip away at the decision by establishing “fetal personhood.” In fact, opponents of abortion rights have already publicly applauded the provision as an important step in their agenda.

Those who want to overturn Roe have been pushing to establish fetal personhood for years, through legislation at both the state and federal levels. Voters have consistently rejected on state ballot referendums personhood measures that would ban abortion, but anti-choice activists are also attempting to insert language that reinforces the notion of fetal personhood into law wherever they can.

So this approach is nothing new. What is new is that lawmakers in Congress are now attempting to use a tax bill to advance this assault on women’s constitutional rights.

This may be because supporters of “personhood” measures have prominent champions in Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who both have cosponsored personhood bills. At the same time, the Trump administration has tried to undermine reproductive choice every chance it gets, from reinstituting the global gag rule to trying to hold pregnant women in immigration detention facilities hostage if they seek to obtain abortion care.

It’s perhaps not surprising that anti-choice proponents would use any vehicle — including the tax bill — to subvert the constitutional rights of women. But this attack is wrong, and the provision must be removed.

Add a comment (12)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

Abortion is a right! Birthing is not! That’s right, birthing is not a right. It’s a consequence from sperm and egg contact that creates genetic folding leading to the creation of an organism. I’m not arguing when that folding (look it up) becomes an independent being able to live on its own, but a skin tag is alive but dies when cut off. Don’t get offended, a baby isn’t a skin tag, it’s an active tumor waiting to push itself out.

Point is, if you want to have a birth baby you are selfish anyway. There are plenty of human babies waiting for you adopt them. Quit being selfish! Don’t cut funding for abortion! CUT FUNDING FOR INSURANCE PAID LIVE BIRTHS.

Anonymous

A baby is an active tumor? Who talks or thinks like That? Are you nuts? Never mind the rest of your goofy ideas.

Anonymous

Abortion wasn't a "right" until Roe v Wade. Even then it was a partial victory and the right has been LEGALLY chipped away ever since. Our laws, and even the Constitution, are not set in stone. They can be changed and will change as society changes.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Paul Ryan? Isn't he the one that actress Jeri Ryan dumped? Now we know why. I hope that statement is not too Ad Homonem for the readers here.

Anonymous

Not even too ad hominem. Med school in the Caribbean?

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Homonem is the correct misspelling sir.

BethV

The ACLU author is stretching here, and on purpose, no doubt. Defining a child in utero eligible for college savings does not overturn a SCOTUS decision for all other purposes. Also, abortion is not a constitutional right, so calling it one in this article is disingenuous. Hard to believe even the freshest of junior lawyers or legal researchers would be this dumb and mendacious. I suppose this level of thinking sort of explains Mr/Ms skin tag's presence on this site. The ACLU needs to step up it's inteullectual game.

Anonymous

Either you're completely dense and oblivious, or you're somebody who's hoping this language will pass through legislation. Nowhere in the article does it state that the author thinks this verbiage will suddenly overturn Roe v. Wade. They're saying it will put into law language that could, in the future, be used to support cases to overturn Roe v. Wade or make other attacks on abortion rights.

Also, under the fourteenth amendment as interpreted in the Roe v. Wade decision, women have the constitutional right to choose whether or not to bear a child. The right to an abortion is absolutely a constitutional right.

Anonymous

No, this tactic is used a lot and not just by Conservatives. For example, there are many lawsuits being filed by and for transgenders even though they aren't officially recognized as a special interest group by the Federal Government. This is because, if SCOTUS rules for even one of them, it legitimizes transgenders as a special interest group.

Anonymous

None of those actions you accused Trump of involved women who were US citizens. Just pointing that out.

Pages

Stay Informed