Georgia residents can now claim embryos as dependents on their tax returns in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The state Department of Revenue on Monday released new guidance related to Georgia’s anti-abortion law, known as “Living Infant and Fairness Equality (LIFE) Act,” which bars doctors from terminating pregnancies beyond six weeks, with some exceptions.
“In light of the June 24, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the July 20, 2022, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Sistersong v. Kemp, the Department will recognize any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat…as eligible for the Georgia individual income tax,” the statement read.
Passed in 2019, the LIFE ACT was initially ruled unconstitutional in July 2020, but that ruling was reversed in July 2022, after the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision that left the issue of abortion up to each of the 50 states.
According to the revenue agency’s guidance, a taxpayer who has an “unborn child… with a detectable human heartbeat” after July 20 may list the embryo as a dependent on their 2022 tax return.
Under the new rules, residents can claim a deduction of $3,000 for each “unborn child.”
Supporters of abortion rights greeted the news with scorn and pointed to potential problems that could arise as a result of the new law effectively granting embryos personhood.
Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State University law professor, tweeted in response to the announcement that a lot of pregnancies end in natural miscarriages, which could mean that “the treasury is going to be handing out a lot of cash for pregnancies that would never come to term.”
Lauren Groh-Wargo, manager of Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign for Georgia governor, wondered in a tweet if women who claim an embryo as a dependent — only to miscarry it later — could face legal trouble.
“So what happens when you claim your fetus as a dependent and then miscarry later in the pregnancy, you get investigated both for tax fraud and an illegal abortion?” she wrote.
A heartbeat can be detected in an embryo as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — often before a woman knows she’s pregnant.