Georgia’s anti-abortion law allows tax deductions for fetuses

AUGUST 2 (Reuters) – Pregnant women in the US state of Georgia can deduct their fetuses as contingent on their taxes under a 2019 anti-abortion law a judge enacted last month, the state said.

The state tax agency said Monday that any woman whose fetus has a detectable heartbeat as of July 20, the date of the court ruling, can apply for a $3,000 personal tax exemption for each fetus if she is carrying more than one .

The Georgia Department of Revenue didn’t provide details, such as what happens if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage during the tax year. The agency said it would issue more guidance later in 2022.

The law allowing the deduction was part of a so-called fetal heartbeat bill passed in Georgia three years ago that aimed to ban abortions after the fetus’s heart activity was detected, generally after about the sixth week of pregnancy.

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This bill, which also allowed women to collect child support for a fetus, was among a series of abortion bans and restrictions that were banned for years – as long as the United States Constitution was interpreted to give a right to an abortion protects abortion.

After a new conservative supermajority in the US Supreme Court ended those protections by overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion statewide, Georgia’s law was allowed to go into effect.

Allowing pregnant women to claim their fetuses as dependent is an idea that has been supported by some in the anti-abortion movement for years. Bills to this end have been introduced at least twice at the federal level.

Arizona passed a similar law, but enforcement of its law granting fetuses “personality” has been blocked by a court, said Elizabeth Nash, who investigates state abortion policy for the Guttmacher Institute on Abortion Rights.

Georgia’s tax move is the broadest interpretation of fetal personality enacted to date, she said through a spokesman.

The ACLU of Georgia, which is one of several groups suing the law, said that while a tax break is welcome, giving full personality to an embryo is dangerous.

“We are all in favor of action to support pregnant women, through tax credits or otherwise. Dangerous and perplexing is Georgia’s attempt to treat an embryo as a person with rights equal to those of a pregnant person from the first days of pregnancy,” said Julia Kaye, an attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

The Georgia Department of Revenue did not immediately respond to a request for comment or clarification from Reuters.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein Editing by Bill Berkrot

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