Aug 2, 2022 - News

Embryos can count as dependents on Georgia tax returns

holding sign: my body, my choice
Protestors march in Atlanta in opposition to Georgia's anti-abortion law. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

The Georgia Department of Revenue confirmed Monday that Georgians can claim embryos with cardiac activity as dependents on their taxes.

Why it matters: This is among the first concrete guidance from Georgia's state government about the implications of its anti-abortion law's personhood provision, which grants full constitutional rights to any embryo or fetus with detectable cardiac activity.

What's happening: From July 20, 2022, taxpayers can claim an exemption in the amount of $3,000 per embryo, according to the department.

  • "Relevant medical records or other supporting documents" may need to be provided.

The big picture: Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, a challenge to Georgia's anti-abortion law and its personhood language failed in federal court. Opponents have since sued in Georgia state court.

  • Personhood provisions have been challenged in other states, including Arizona where a judge halted its implementation, finding it "unconstitutionally vague."
  • Critics in Georgia have argued personhood opens a Pandora's box of legal gray area.

State of play: The Georgia Department of Public Health has already updated its literature on the "Women's Right to Know" policy to include abortion restrictions set out by HB 481, as well as the definition of "medical emergency" which constitutes an exemption under the new law.

  • The policy stems from a 2005 law that mandated abortions only could happen 24 hours after a woman is informed of risks and details of the fetus, among other information.

The state Department of Human Services has finalized new guidance and forms for child support enforcement to help new mothers secure medical and pregnancy-related expenses for embryos and fetuses, which the law’s personhood provision outlines, according to department spokeswoman Kylie Winton.

What we're watching: The Department of Transportation did not respond to a request for comment about guidance regarding HB 481 and HOV lanes.

  • In Texas, one woman is fighting a ticket by arguing her unborn child qualifies her to ride in the HOV lane.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that the state Department of Human Services manages child support, not the Division of Family & Children Services. It also has been updated to clarify that only medical and pregnancy-related expenses would be accessible to pregnant mothers under the new law, not living expenses.

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