This Christmas season, Congress should mandate an unborn-child tax credit


Pregnant woman at home.
Pregnant woman keeping hand on belly and holding ultrasound image at home interiors. Pregnancy, parenthood, preparation and expectation concept. Close-up, copy space, indoors. (iStock)

This Christmas season, Congress should mandate an unborn-child tax credit

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“It’s a miscar—” My voice trails off. “Come again?” the emergency-room clerk asks. “I think I’m miscarrying,” I say, choking back tears as the clerk hands me a small box of tissues. This wasn’t her first miscarriage experience. In fact, about one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage.

As the National Library of Medicine reports, “Among women who know they are pregnant, about 10% to 25% will have a miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy. The rate of miscarriage drops after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.”


Instead of a heartbeat that day in the ER, however, I heard only the click of a screenshot as the ultrasound tech captured images of my empty womb. In an instant, I joined the ranks of more than a million women this year who will experience that same haunting sound.

It is difficult suffering a miscarriage any time of year, but loss is especially acute during Christmastime. As Christians around the world celebrate the birth of our savior, many women are actively grieving their lost baby and dreams of welcoming a new life into the world.

Christmastime is as relevant a time as ever for Congress to enact the Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms Act, reintroduced in the Senate earlier this year. If enacted, the bill would enable those who miscarry and those who give birth to a stillborn child to redeem the child tax credit.

There is a multitude of reasons to create a tax credit for expectant mothers and for those who’ve experienced pregnancy loss. For one, the cost of raising a child is at a record-high $310,605. It’s silly to create hurdles to parenthood when healthy family life sustains people during tough times.

As Brad Wilcox and Wendy Wang write for Deseret News, a survey conducted by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution shows that “childless Americans are now more likely to report their lives are lonely, and less likely to report they are meaningful and happy.”

What’s more, women are having children later, if old age and disease don’t catch up to them first. The pressure and warped incentives that push women and families to delay motherhood — and perhaps inadvertently lose their window of opportunity to have children altogether — are palpable.

Lawmakers, instead, should do what they can to encourage family formation for everyone — not simply upper-middle-class and wealthy Americans. Individuals and society, as a result, will be better off in a world that lowers barriers to entry when it comes to pregnancy and parenthood.

What’s more, the unexpected medical costs of pregnancy and miscarriage weigh heavily on everyday people. In the face of miscarriage, more questions abound about the seemingly insurmountable costs ahead if IVF and adoption are the only remaining paths toward parenthood.

Within a week of my miscarriage, for example, I was back in the office as if nothing had happened. But something had happened. The only visible evidence of my pregnancy that remained, however, were ER notes and a steady stream of unexpected doctors’ bills trickling into my mailbox.

These unexpected expenses — together with record inflation, needing a car during a chip shortage, and the wealth gap ever increasing with the rise in housing costs — put the possibility of affording a Mercedes-Benz worth of fertility treatments out of reach.


Women and families deserve a better legacy. Indeed, they deserve to have a legacy period. Enacting Sen. Steve Daines’s (R-MT) unborn-child-tax-credit legislation is a good start toward digging aspiring parents out of the bleak future we’ve created for young people.

Carolyn Bolton (@carbolton) is communications and marketing manager for a mission-focused charitable-giving account provider. She is a former newspaper reporter and lives in northern Virginia.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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