Georgia has really stepped up as a pro-life state, not simply passing a heartbeat abortion ban in 2019, but one that also contained a “personhood” legal designation for preborn babies with a detectable heartbeat. “‘Natural person’ means any human being including an unborn child,” the law, known as the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act,” specifies.
The law was initially blocked by a federal court because of Roe v. Wade, but the case was then put on hold because of the then-pending resolution of the Dobbs case by the Supreme Court. After Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, Georgia petitioned the federal courts to release the injunction blocking enforcement of the law.
On July 20, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Georgia’s request.
So, what does “personhood” mean for preborn babies and their parents in Georgia?
One thing we now know is that parents will be able to claim a $3,000 state income tax exemption for their preborn baby in the tax year when their heart started beating, beginning in tax year 2022.
According to a Georgia Department of Revenue “guidance,” effective as of July 20, the date of the 11th Circuit’s ruling, Georgia taxpayers can take advantage of the following:
“[O]n individual income tax returns filed for Tax Year 2022 where, at any time on or after July 20, 2022, and through December 31, 2022, a taxpayer has an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat (which may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation), the taxpayer may claim a dependent personal exemption as provided for under O.C.G.A § 48-7-26(a) and (b)(3) in the amount of $3,000.00 for each unborn child.”
The guidance further states that, like any other deduction, the taxpayer must have relevant medical records or other supporting documentation to support the deduction, if requested by the Department of Revenue.
Undoubtedly other legal issues will surface related to the personhood of preborn babies in Georgia.
For now, however, a law that promotes healthy families, including tax breaks for preborn dependents, is smart public policy. Look for other states to emulate Georgia’s LIFE Act in that regard.
We’ve lived under a culture of death for 50 years because of Roe; it’s time to examine the possibilities for coming alongside families to support life.