The Senate tax reform bill, which passed along party lines early Saturday morning, did not include a provision which allows expectant parents to contribute to a 529 college savings account for their unborn baby that was a part of the House tax reform plan.
The portion “on unborn children was not included in the measure that passed the Senate,” Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, told Bloomberg Monday.
She explained that the language was not compatible with the Senate’s “Byrd Rule” which “prohibits changes that aren’t directly related to taxes and spending under the process that Senate leaders are using to pass their tax bill.”
The proposal was dropped from the final version of the bill released Friday before the vote, a Senate aide told Bloomberg.
The provision’s failure to pass the Senate indicates that it may not be included in the final tax reform package that the House and Senate must agree on and send to President Trump for approval.
Pro-life groups, such as the Susan B. Anthony List and the March for Life, praised the provision when it was added initially to the House bill in November. Planned Parenthood and NARAL criticized the language arguing that it was an attempt to undermine abortion access.
“A child in the womb is just as human as you or I yet, until now, the U.S. tax code has failed to acknowledge the unborn child - all while granting tax breaks for those seeking an abortion under the pretense of ‘healthcare,”’ March for Life president Jeanne Mancini commented on the provision at the time. “The proposed tax plan is a huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code, and we hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children as well.”
"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, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's vice president of public policy and government affairs, said in a statement. "Politicians in Washington, DC have no place inserting themselves in decisions about women's health and lives, not on this bill and not on any bill."
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) called the provision “dangerous” arguing that it could have “far-reaching implications on women’s health” which prompted Rep. Kristi Noem (R-ND) to ask what was so dangerous about allowing parents to save money for their unborn child’s education.