Georgia: Abortion law allows tax deductions for unborn babies

Nach Roe v. Wade
Abortion law in the US state of Georgia allows tax deductions for embryos

The Georgia appeals court upheld the controversial “heartbeat law” in July

© Robin Rayne / Picture Alliance

With the “heartbeat law” in the US state of Georgia, a strict abortion law has been in force since July. The local tax office now classifies unborn babies as eligible for tax refunds from the first heartbeat.

In the US state of Georgia, unborn babies can be declared as dependents on tax returns in order to receive tax refunds for them. This was stated by the state tax office in a statement on Monday, as reported by several US media. The regulation should already apply to embryos: As soon as a heartbeat can be detected in an unborn child, which is usually the case from the sixth week, the directive applies. Up to $3,000 tax credit is said to be paid out for an unborn baby if it is declared on the tax return.

Rule based on Heartbeat Law in Georgia

This new ruling builds on the previous decision by the Georgia Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the so-called heartbeat statute in July following the end of Roe v. Wade declared legal. The law bans abortions after unborn babies are first detected as having a heartbeat, giving them human status from that point on. It was first passed in 2019 and could now come into force with the decision of the federal court in Georgia – as a result of the overturned nationwide right to abortion. Since then, abortion bans have also come into force in many other US states, and this is still expected for others.

Legislation in Georgia has met with criticism from many pro-choice advocates. The US non-governmental organization “American Civil Liberties Union” (ACLU) in Georgia – along with other groups – has filed a lawsuit against it. Although tax breaks for pregnant women are to be supported in principle, they consider the attempt to give embryos the same rights as people in early pregnancy to be dangerous, an ACLU lawyer quoted Reuters as saying.

Many fear further moves of this kind to legally anchor the personal status of unborn babies at the federal level, which could then result in further restrictions for pregnant people.

Draft laws target the personal status of unborn children

In fact, there were already efforts of this kind at the federal level at the beginning of the year. In January, Republican lawmakers introduced a bill in the US Congress that would provide tax credits for unborn children from the time of their fertilization, Forbes reported. A second draft law was introduced in mid-July that would allow maintenance payments for children during pregnancy.

In the state of Texas, a pregnant woman recently caused a stir with her speeding ticket. She would not pay her ticket for illegal driving in the multi-person lane, arguing that since the end of Roe v. Wade also applies her unborn baby as a person – and therefore also as a second passenger.

Sources: Forbes, Reuters, CBS News

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