Taxes are more commonly associated with death than life, but the long-awaited Republican tax bill includes a new provision celebrated by expectant pro-life parents for recognizing their belief that life begins at conception.
Under the proposed reform plan released this week, “nothing shall prevent an unborn child from being treated as a designated beneficiary” of a 529 college savings account, GOP lawmakers wrote.
Pro-life advocates see the move as federal acknowledgement of a baby’s life prior to its birth. (Under the current tax code, a person must have a Social Security number in order to be a 529 beneficiary, and babies are not assigned a number until after they are born.)
Christian pro-life leaders disagreed somewhat over the extent to which the language furthers the pro-life cause; March for Life president Jeanne Mancini called it a “huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code,” while Susan B. Anthony List spokesperson Mallory Quigley said it’s a “a small increment in the momentum that we’re building to ensure that one day every child is welcomed and protected under the law.”
Mancini also said, “We hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children.”
March for Life Action said that the change was not something the group had lobbied for. Pro-choice groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America criticized the move as ideologically driven, backwards, and nonsensical.
CBN reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also recently acknowledged life in the womb in its strategic plan starting in 2018, which states that HHS “accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”
The new tax plan also drew attention from Christians over its proposed elimination of the adoption tax credit and repeal of the Johnson Amendment, as President Donald Trump had pledged.
Most parents who adopt children domestically or internationally are currently eligible for a tax credit (up to $13,570 in 2017) under an incentive created over 20 years ago and adjusted annually for inflation, according to a Vox analysis of the program.
Christian groups including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention have spoken out in defense of the credit, calling it a pro-life and pro-family federal measure.
“The Adoption Tax Credit made it possible for us to adopt,” tweeted Nate Pyle, pastor of Christ’s Community Church in Fishers, Indiana. “This cut will lead to less adoptions. In the end, this move hurts kids.”
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Source: Christianity Today