Yes, they're serious. And yes, they eliminated the tax credit for children last year -- once again calling to mind the Barney Frank line: Republicans believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.
Republican lawmakers in Michigan, a state which eliminated tax credits for children last year, have proposed a tax credit for unborn foetuses of 12 weeks gestation.
If the measure, outlined in two bills heard by the house tax policy committee on Tuesday, becomes law it would be the first of its kind in the US.
Critics said the proposal was "absurd" and described it as a backdoor way of trying to pass "personhood" legislation which would give rights to an embryo and crack down on abortion.
The Michigan house of representatives this year passed part of a three-bill package that would restrict access to abortion and heavily regulate clinic that performs them. Republican leaders have come under fire for banning a Democrat from speaking after she said the word "vagina" in a debate on an abortion bill earlier this year.
One of the main sponsors of the foetus tax credit bill, Jud Gilbert, a Republican representative of Algonac, said the rationale behind it was to recognise that mothers have additional bills to pay.
"You're recognizing the fact that people have additional expenses, another person to take care of," he told told Mlive. "Money saved there could be contributed to doctor's bills and all kinds of things."
If they want to incentivize against abortion, they should simply offer free healthcare for all pregnant women. Make pregnancy free. And then they should extend the healthcare to include all children and post-natal care for the mothers. Meanwhile, abortion should remain legal. And while they're at it, reinstate the tax credit for children.