Georgia Offers Tax Write-Offs for Unborn Children
The law aims to take ‘pro-life’ to its natural conclusion.
Are you a Georgia citizen who is expecting a baby? Then you are blessed in more ways than one! The first blessing, of course, is that you will soon be welcoming a precious new member of your family. But now, there’s also a cash benefit: The state of Georgia will offer a personal tax exemption of $3,000 for each unborn child.
According to a guidance just released by the Georgia Department of Revenue, a taxpayer who has an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat on or after July 20 may claim a dependent personal exemption of $3,000 for tax year 2022. The guidance clarifies what medical science already understands — that the heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks’ gestation.
In implementing this tax exemption, the state of Georgia reflected the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, when in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court upheld Mississippi’s abortion restrictions and overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which had legalized abortion nationwide. They referred, too, to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ July 20 ruling in the case of Sistersong v. Kemp. In that case, the Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and other state abortion centers had come together to challenge Georgia’s pro-life legislation. The case had been heard, but the court’s ruling had been put on hold, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs.
Fetal Homicide Is Already a Crime in Many States
The Georgia tax exemption is one of many pro-life policies that states are expected to enact, now that decisions regarding the legality of abortion have been returned to the states. And doesn’t it make sense? Already, at least 38 states have “fetal homicide” laws which impose penalties on an individual who causes the death of an unborn child — in a car accident, for example, in which mother and child are killed, or in which the mother survives but her unborn fetus does not. In some of these states, there are restrictions regarding when the law may be applied — for example, after the fetus has a discernible heartbeat, or after the point of viability (around 24 weeks). In 29 of these states, however, there is no distinction, and an aggressor or individual who causes the death of an unborn child, even in the first weeks after conception, will be found guilty.
Many states enacted pro-life legislation following Dobbs. In Georgia, for example, the following restrictions on abortion were in effect as of June 28:
- Patients were required to receive state-directed counseling, including other options besides abortion, such as adoption. There is a 24-hour waiting period after the counseling, before a patient can obtain an abortion.
- Health insurance carriers which are included in the state’s health exchange can cover abortion only when the mother’s life is in danger or when her health will be significantly compromised by the pregnancy and birth. The same is true for insurers who cover public employees.
- A minor may not have an abortion without prior parental consent.
- Public funding will be granted only in cases involving life endangerment, rape or incest.
Abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is capable of experiencing pain, is illegal except in cases where the mother’s life or health is at stake, or cases involving rape or incest.
Many other states had on record “trigger” laws — pro-life legislation that would be effective immediately upon the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
The Georgia Department of Revenue will release additional information later this year, including return instructions to claim the personal exemption for an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat.