Georgia residents can now claim “any unborn child” with a detectable heartbeat as a dependent on their state income taxes, the state’s Department of Revenue announced Monday.
Under Georgia House Bill 481, Georgia residents can claim a $3,000 tax credit if they were pregnant with an unborn child (or children) as early as six weeks gestation on or after July 20, and through to Dec. 31, 2022.
The state revenue department said medical records or other supporting documentation may be requested to support the tax deduction claims.
The tax exemption came into effect on July 20 when the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court order that had blocked the enforcement of Georgia’s 2019 abortion ban.
The ban is known as the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, which a three-judge panel had struck down on the grounds that it violated legal precedent.
The LIFE Act was initially blocked by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, an Obama appointee. The court ruling noted that the LIFE Act defines a “natural person” as “any human being including an unborn child.”
But Jones ruled that it was unconstitutionally vague to include unborn children in the definition of a “natural person,” citing the Roe v. Wade ruling.
But this was invalidated in June once the U.S. Supreme Court found that the right to an abortion isn’t found in the U.S. Constitution. Its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization subsequently overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Instructions on how Georgia residents can make a claim will be issued later this year along with other tax changes, the department said in a statement.
States of Play
In the wake of Roe, the power to make laws around abortions has returned to the states, around half of which are expected to ban or restrict the procedure.
Currently, 10 U.S. states have banned abortions and a further four have placed restrictions on the procedure following the Supreme Court decision in June.
Many state abortion laws are currently being determined in the courts.
A number of states had trigger laws that immediately banned abortions once Roe was overturned, leading to legal challenges by abortion providers and others. Some states have stronger restrictions that effectively ban abortion entirely.
For example, an Idaho trigger law will from Aug. 25 make it a felony for health care providers to carry out abortions except to save the life of the mother or in instances involving incest or rape that are reported to law enforcement.
The Biden administration on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Idaho’s law, the first time the administration has directly moved against a state over abortion.
The lawsuit was filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). In announcing the lawsuit (pdf), Attorney General Merrick Garland claimed the ban conflicts with an emergency medical treatment law that allows providers to give medically stabilizing treatment during an emergency. Under the law, Garland argued, such care includes performing an abortion.
Garland vowed to “work tirelessly” to protect abortions in the wake of Roe and to “use every tool at our disposal” to overturn Idaho’s ban.
Abortion bans are already in place in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, while Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, and South Carolina ban abortions at six weeks gestation.
From The Epoch Times