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Georgia abortion law says a fetus is tax deductible


“It really is about establishing personhood of the unborn child.”

Gov. Brian Kemp declares victory in the Republican primary of the gubernatorial race in Georgia on, may 24 in Atlanta. Nicole Craine / THE BRAND NEW York Times

By Ava Sasani, NY Times Service

Georgias abortion ban counts a fetus as an individual. And today, so does its tax code.

The states Department of Revenue announced this week that any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat could be claimed as dependent, providing a $3,000 tax exemption for every pregnancy inside a household, months prior to the child exists. Georgias law bans most abortions after six weeks, that is usually around when doctors will start to detect fetal cardiac activity.


The announcement marks a fresh frontier of anti-abortion policymaking in a post-Roe America, where conservative lawmakers have moved beyond banning abortion and so are now attempting to expand the rights and protections afforded to a fetus under fetal personhood laws. Georgia, Alabama and Arizona have passed abortion bans offering language broadly defining a fetus as an individual.

Separately, nearly 40 states, including Texas and California, define a fetus as an individual in cases involving homicide. For instance, Scott Peterson in 2004 was convicted in California ofmurdering his wife and unborn child. His wife, Laci Peterson, was eight months pregnant when she was killed.

Georgias abortion law goes beyond any fetal personhood provision. Called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality, or LIFE, Act, it prohibits abortion after six weeks and explicitly recognizes the fetus as an individual.

A federal judge struck down the legislation last summer, discovering that it violated a womans constitutional to an abortion. The appeals court delayed your final decision, pending a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, a three-judge panel from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed Georgia conservatives their long-anticipated victory, allowing the abortion restrictions to take effect.

In the appeals courts July 20 ruling, Chief Judge William Pryor wrote a person of reasonable intelligence is with the capacity of knowing that the core meaning [of] the provision would be to expand this is of person to add unborn humans that are carried in the womb of these mother at any stage of development.

Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed regulations in 2019, celebrated the courts decision.

Georgia is really a declare that values and supports life at all stages and the Georgia LIFE Act which provision both reflect that commitment, a spokesperson for Kemp said.

State Representative Ed Setzler, a Republican sponsor of regulations, saidin a leaked 2019 videothat the best goal of regulations would be to have the Supreme Court acknowledge the personhood of a fetus.

It really is about establishing personhood of the unborn child, in the tax code, for child support for mothers, inside our census counts, across our code, in order that we are able to lay the building blocks that no other state in the country within the last 46 years has ever done, that is to determine the personhood of the child, and were likely to take this to the best court in the land, Setzler said in the video.

Setzler didn’t react to requests for comment.

Georgias push to identify a fetus as an individual could lay the blueprint for other conservative states, that have not yet clarified this is and ramifications of this approach, legal experts said.

The anti-abortion movement is definitely a personhood movement, there is just no consensus on which that truly meant, said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, who has written several books on abortion and regulations.

Prior to the demise of Roe, conservatives were united round the singular goal of restricting abortion access. But Ziegler says the anti-abortion movement is desperate for consensus on which fetal personhood means in a post-Roe legal landscape.

Nobody has really exercised, how can you enforce personhood beyond just you cant have an abortion, she said. Georgia is needs to work that out, but theyve really only viewed a small number of situations. How can you enforce this in HOV lanes? Can you provide a fetus its attorney? You can find so many questions left open.

Last month,a pregnant Texas woman ticketed for riding in the HOV lane aloneargued that her fetus counted as an individual beneath the states abortion ban. Texas abortion ban will not included fetal personhood, but its penal code does.

Georgias abortion law also allows mom to get child support to cover the price of direct medical and pregnancy related expenses prior to the child exists.

Democrats said regulations may also expose women who experience miscarriages to unknown consequences.

Just what exactly happens once you claim your fetus as a dependent and miscarry later in the pregnancy, you obtain investigated both for tax fraud and an illegal abortion? tweeted Lauren Groh-Wargo, campaign manager of the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams.

Mondays announcement says taxpayers who claim the brand new deduction could be asked to supply medical records or documentation of the pregnancy. The Revenue Department have not clarified if and how families who lose a pregnancy might protect themselves from allegations of fraud.

Specific instructions on how best to claim a fetus on a tax return are anticipated later this season.

This short article originally appeared in THE BRAND NEW York Times.

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