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Just Out for a Drive With My Fetus, Officer

I was quite sure that the National Right-to-Ride Carpool Coalition was a parody but in fact it doesn’t seem to be. The organization is trying to get pregnant women permission to use H.O.V. highway lanes. Here are a couple tips the group offers to pregnant women who might be pulled over for driving solo — well, seemingly solo:

Carry documentation of your pregnancy. Carry a copy of your pregnancy test results or a letter from your doctor. If you are far enough along, keep an ultrasound handy to show the officer.

If your pregnancy is advanced enough that you know the sex of your child and have named him or her, refer to the child as your son/daughter and use their name. Ex: “Officer, my son Andrew and I were just on the way to our prenatal exam.” Or “The twins and I were just running a few errands.” [Thanks to Longtermguy91 for the tip.]

On a related note, I also received this interesting e-mail not long ago, from a family-planning nurse named Judy K.:

I have a thought I’d like passed on. Should Roe vs Wade be overturned, and life declared “begining at conception,” does that mean you get a tax deduction?

Let me explain. Twenty years ago I gave birth to a baby at 32 weeks gestation that lived for one hour. I was able to declare her as a dependent on my tax return for that year. My friend, who carried her baby full-term, delivered a stillborn. No live birth. No dependent. No tax deduction.

So if abortions are outlawed, just pretend, then it must be because you are carrying a baby, and if you lose that pregnancy (miscarriage, premature, stillborn) then you would be able to take a tax deduction for having had a baby even though it died. Taking this a step further, that would include any miscarriages after a positive pregnancy tests. Now it gets interesting. Perhaps as many as fifty percent of pregnancies do not end with a live birth, because of the large number of miscarriages. So take the # of births in the US in a year, double it, and add the tax deduction. How much is this choice of deciding that life begins at conception going to cost the American taxpayer? Because you can’t really have it both ways, either you get the tax deduction because you had a baby, or you don’t get a tax deduction because you didn’t have a baby.

I don’t agree with Judy K.’s conclusion — it’s not necessarily contradictory for someone to believe that a) life begins at conception AND b) life as tax dependent begins at live birth. But it’s an interesting question, perhaps even more so than the one raised by the Right-to-Ride people. Plainly, the human fetus presents a practically unlimited number of utilitarian scenarios.