Pro-Life Groups Drive Push for Adoption Tax Credit in GOP Bill

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The GOP’s pro-life base is driving a push to include an adoption tax credit in the Republican tax reform bill.

In remarks delivered Tuesday at the GOP conference, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), chairman of the House Congressional Coalition on Adoption, said he has observed the difference between the outcomes of children “who age out of the foster care system and those who are adopted” as young children.

“The difference is profound,” Franks said. “There is a far higher rate of criminal behavior, incarceration and broken lives among those children who age out of the foster care system and never get adopted. And the cost to the public treasury of those children is exponentially higher than those children who do get adopted.”

Franks also warned Republicans not to eliminate the adoption tax credit while they also fund Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest provider of abortions.

“We don’t want to be a caucus that funds Planned Parenthood and does away with the adoption tax credit after saying ‘adoption not abortion,’” he said.

National pro-life leaders continue to criticize a supposedly “pro-life” Republican Congress that has failed to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding and redirect it to community health centers that provide higher levels of care. An omission of tax credit for Americans willing to adopt babies rather than have them aborted is adding to the pro-life base’s displeasure.

Pro-life political action group March for LifeAction tweeted Wednesday, “Adoption is a critically important pro-life effort, and the adoption tax credit is a significant government policy to encourage and enable it.”

Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins told Breitbart News more needs to be done to assist parents who choose to adopt.

“It’s disappointing that the adoption tax credit isn’t in the current proposal, given the high cost of adoption and the needs of children for a family,” she said. “We urge lawmakers to do everything they can to support parents who are doing the heroic and costly work of raising the next generation.”

As the Hill reports, the adoption tax credit – which provides up to $13,570 in tax saving per adopted child – has support among Democrats as well, but House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) encouraged the committee to vote against adding the credit back into the reform bill, citing the credit is only available to wealthier families who can itemize their deductions.

“I’ve always worried about the current credit because it helps many who are of a certain income level and who qualify,” Brady, an adoptive father, said. “I worry about those families who are modest income, who don’t itemize [deductions]. I worry the current credit leaves too many Americans behind.”

An amendment by Democrats to restore the credit was defeated late Tuesday, and Brady said he hopes to find a better policy to address the adoption issue.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who heads the House Pro-Life Caucus, told the Hill the credit “is vital to helping families deal with the often-high upfront costs — like travel and legal fees — of adopting vulnerable children, including kids with special needs.”

Additionally, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) urged House Speaker Paul Ryan and Brady to restore the credit, citing a “moral responsibility for our pro-life, pro-family party.”

“Encouraging adoption discourages abortion: that simple cause-and-effect is very clear,” Biggs wrote in a letter to the GOP leaders.

House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said the adoption credit is an important issue to address.

“As a pro-life caucus I think it’s an important move that we hopefully address that, so whether it’s in this bill or when we go to conference, addressing that issue is important for us,” he said.


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