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Early this morning, Senate Republicans passed a massive tax-overhaul bill that will most certainly exacerbate income inequality. Full of handwritten notes, the 479-page bill lists massive corporate tax cuts and repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate; but what the Senate version does not include that the House’s does is an irrelevant anti-abortion provision. However, the bills must now be reconciled, so it’s possible that the backwards provision could make its way into the cruel final bill.
According to ThinkProgress, the House bill moves to allow fetuses to be among the allowed beneficiaries of the popular 529 college-savings plans. What is particularly insidious about this provision, though, is that it attempts to redefine “unborn child,” a term that anti-abortionists throw out while arguing that personhood begins at conception. Their thinking goes that if they can legally define fetuses as people, then abortion will inevitably be outlawed.
While Kansas and Missouri have “personhood” language on their books, other states, like Oklahoma, have struck down similar ballot initiatives and deemed them unconstitutional. However, it’s been a priority of anti-abortion activists to codify “fetal personhood” for years.
“It is absurd that House Republican leaders would use a tax bill to try to advance their agenda to undermine access to safe, legal abortion,” Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told ThinkProgress. Furthermore, according to Planned Parenthood, current law already allows people to create 529 accounts for future children.
As for what’s next, the House and Senate will get together to try to negotiate a new draft and decide whether or not they have the energy to give the rich more money and threaten abortion rights. Once they have their final copy, both chambers will have to pass it again.