The GOP has unveiled a new tax plan that would allow expectant parents to list their unborn babies as beneficiaries of a 529 college savings account.
"Nothing shall prevent an unborn child from being treated as a designated beneficiary," the plan states, as reported by Life News.
The document defined the term "unborn child" as a "child in utero" which "means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."
Abortion advocacy groups the provision as "absurd" and alleged that it is another ploy to block access to abortion on demand.
"It is absurd that House Republican leaders would use a tax bill to try to advance their relentless agenda to undermine access to safe, legal abortion," said Kevin Griffis, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood.
The language in the provision was also denounced by abortion lobbying group NARAL Pro-Choice America. "The GOP's relentless obsession with advancing its dangerous anti-choice ideology knows no boundaries and no common sense," the group said in a tweet, as reported by Breitbart News.
According to NBC News, the language does nothing to change existing law as prospective mothers are already allowed to open accounts for their unborn children. Some pro-life groups, however, noted that the language strengthens the argument that unborn children are humans and should be given equal protection under the law.
"It's a small increment in the momentum that we're building to ensure that one day every child is welcomed and protected under the law. We hope that it stays in the House bill and that it stays in anything the Senate puts out," said Mallory Quigley, the communications director for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.
The terminology in the provision echoes a section of the 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was enacted following the murder of Laci Peterson, who was pregnant.
The provision is part of the $1.51 trillion overhaul of the tax code unveiled by the Republicans at the House of Representatives on Thursday. The Senate is expected to come up with its own version of the tax plan soon, and the two chambers will have to pass their respective bills before they can reconcile the differences to enact a new tax law.
The new tax plan also contains provisions that would eliminate the adoption tax credit, and repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which restricts leaders of nonprofits from endorsing political candidates in their official capacity.
The proposed tax law still does not allow churches to make political contributions to the campaign, but it indicated that they will not be penalized based on the content of sermons, teaching or any presentation made during religious services or gatherings.