Powerful federal officials are calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment and similar life-affirming provisions that have been in place for forty-five years, despite public support for such measures. This change, which Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) strongly opposes, would result in billions of taxpayer dollars paying for elective abortions. The Hyde Amendment and others are renewed annually in federal budget bills. During current negotiations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called on American Catholics to take widespread action in the first week of June, by signing a petition for members of Congress. It is critical that pro-lifers send a strong message to Congress: our taxpayer dollars should NOT pay for abortion. The Hyde Amendment saves lives and respects the consciences of American taxpayers and should be renewed. Take the following steps now to share this message:
In April, Representative Rodney Wakeman (R-Saginaw Twp.) and Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) introduced bills to encourage prenatal health care and to recognize the unborn as a child for a family's income taxes. If enacted, House Bill 4644 and Senate Bill 366 would amend the state Income Tax Act to provide a dependency exemption for a fetus under certain circumstances. More specifically, the bill states:
A taxpayer who is at least twelve weeks pregnant and has been under the care of a physician since at least the twelfth week of her pregnancy may claim an additional $3,700 exemption against taxable income in the tax year of her pregnancy.
Taxpayers would be required to attach a signed medical statement from their physician to the income tax return, attesting that the requirements of gestational age and prenatal care were met.
This week, the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee passed House Bill 4644 by a party line vote, which sends the bill to the full House for further consideration. Michigan Catholic Conference shared its support of the measure in committee and will continue to advocate for its passage. Senate Bill 366 still awaits initial consideration by the Senate Finance Committee.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act (HR 5) by a 224-206 vote. Introduced by Representative David Cicilline from Rhode Island, the Equality Act would amend federal anti-discrimination laws, adding new regulations for "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression." Proponents have sought support by arguing that the bill prevents discrimination against those experiencing same-sex attraction or questioning their biological gender in housing, employment, education, and federal programs. However, the "Equality Act" oversteps its stated intention and will discriminate against citizens and people of faith for their longstanding beliefs about marriage, sexuality, the nature of the human person, and the place of religion in society. The Word from Lansing column for May shares the Church's concerns about the legislation and instructs Catholics on further advocacy opportunities. The bill is currently before the U.S. Senate, and it is important that Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters hear from those that they represent on this issue. President Joe Biden has already indicated he would sign the Equality Act into law if it were presented to him. Thank you in advance for your action.