Georgia residents can now claim unborn children as dependents on this year’s tax return, the state’s Department of Revenue announced Monday.
The announcement is in lockstep with the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed the decades-long right to abortion granted by Roe v. Wade.
An 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Sistersong v. Kemp further allowed for the recognition of “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat,” according to a statement from the state’s revenue department. From the July 20 date of the 11th Circuit Court’s ruling, Georgians may claim unborn babies as “eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption” on 2022 tax returns. Taxpayers need only retain relevant medical records or other supporting documentation, should it be requested by the Department.
This week is not the first time that Georgia has garnered national attention for pro-life measures. Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation in 2019 that placed a ban on abortions as soon as a heartbeat could be detected, typically around 6 weeks gestation. The Living Infants Equality and Fairness Act made exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or in the event that the mother’s life is in danger. The law was later challenged and ruled unconstitutional, however, when a federal judge in 2020 said it violated the historic Roe v. Wade ruling.
That all changed when Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, setting Georgia back on course to protect the unborn and grant them rights of personhood. Abortions in the state are once again banned past 6 weeks, with the aforementioned exceptions, leaving Georgians to claim an exemption of $3,000 for each unborn child. The statement did not address the announcement’s impact on miscarriages, but noted that additional instructions will be issued later this year for the 2022 tax year.