The Georgia Department of Revenue said Monday that in-state residents can claim embryos with a “detectable human heartbeat” as dependents on their taxes.
It added that an embryo “with a detectable heartbeat” has been added to the definition of dependent, effective July 20, the date of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which allows all abortions in the state to be banned once a fetal heartbeat is detected by an ultrasound.
The Supreme Court in late June overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that had established a constitutional right to abortion. Since that ruling, a number of states have moved to ban abortions.
Georgia’s own abortion law includes exceptions for rape and incest, as long as a police report is filed. It also allows for later abortions in cases that the mother’s life is at risk or a serious medical condition renders a fetus unviable.
The July Circuit Court decision also redefined its “personhood” provision throughout Georgia law to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development.
The statement by the Georgia Department of Revenue added that as of July 20, taxpayers can claim an exemption in the amount of $3,000 per embryo.
An exemption can be claimed if a taxpayer has “an unborn child (or children)” with a detectable heartbeat which the statement said may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation.
“Similar to any other deduction claimed on an income tax return, relevant medical records or other supporting documentation shall be provided to support the dependent deduction claimed if requested by the Department,” the statement added.
Lauren Groh-Wargo, the campaign manager for Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, tweeted on Tuesday“So what happens when you claim your fetus as a dependent and then miscarry later in the pregnancy, you get investigated both for tax fraud and an illegal abortion?”
While Abrams did not reference the statement by the Georgia Department of Revenue, she added in a tweet on tuesday that an abortion is “a medical decision between a woman and her doctor” and that Georgia should not be a state where “the governor makes it his decision to deny women medical care.”