Michigan Rep. Barb Byrum on “Fetal Tax Credit:” “This Is Absurd”

Republicans are still waging partisan politics rather than focusing on economic needs.

Barb Byrum. Photo: USA Today.

After the voters of Michigan went to the polls to re-elect President Barack Obama and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, Michigan’s GOP could have taken the act as a sign that they should move away from their war on women. Instead, they’ve doubled-down, as the new “fetal tax credit shows.”

The response from Democrats? Disbelief.

When she first heard about the new proposal to offer a $160 tax credit to any woman who was at least 12 weeks pregnant at the end of the year, Democratic Representative Barb Byrum found the idea incomprehensible.

“Clearly they learned nothing in June from ‘vagina-gate,'” Rep. Byrum told Rewire, referring to the summer’s omnibus abortion bill debate, where multiple female House members were silenced by their Republican counterparts for daring to say the word “vagina” on the floor.

“Again, the Republicans are so out of touch,” Rep. Byrum continued. “We need to be focused on creating jobs in the state. Last year, we voted to eliminate the child tax credit, which is about $600 a child on one hand, and now we are planning to give $160 credit to a fetus? This is absurd.”

Just as confusing is the lack of clarity as to how one would even go about claiming the “fetal credit.” “Some of the questions I have is would there be an affidavit from a doctor? Would a woman require an ultrasound to confirm the fetus had reached 12 weeks? What considerations would there be for a woman if the pregnancy was terminated? This is just bizarre.”

Is there any way that this could be anything other than a backdoor attempt via the tax code to codify the idea of personhood for the unborn? “That’s the way I see it,” Rep. Byrum agreed.

To Rep. Byrum, it’s not worth trying to understand the particulars. As she sees it, this is just another example of Republican distraction tactics from the real issues that face the state. Like the GOP in Ohio, Michigan Republicans are rejecting the message sent to them from voters across the state when they overwhelmingly reelected pro-women candidates. Instead, it’s right back to focusing on abortion.

“The Republicans are once again more focused on women’s reproduction than they are on jobs,” said Rep. Byrum. “We need to get out of this area. The people spoke when they voted, and jobs are the number one issue. Get back to jobs.”

“It just goes to show how out of touch the Republicans are. They’re more focused on partisan, divisive issues than they are on creating jobs in the state.”