Pregnant women in the US state of Georgia will be able to deduct their fetuses as dependents on their taxes under a 2019 anti-abortion law that a judge cleared to take effect last month, said the state.
The state tax agency said this week that any woman whose fetus has a detectable heartbeat as of July 20, the date of the court ruling, is eligible for a $4 personal tax exemption. $350 for each fetus, if carrying more than one .
The Georgia Department of Revenue did not provide details, such as what happens if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage during the tax year. The agency said it will release new guidelines later in 2022.
The law allowing the deduction was part of a so-called fetal heart rate bill passed three years ago in Georgia, which sought to ban abortion after detection of fetal heart activity, usually around six weeks gestation.
This bill, which also allowed women to collect fetal support, was one of a series of abortion bans and restrictions that were not allowed to go into effect for years – as long as the United States Constitution was interpreted as protecting a right to Abortion
After a new conservative supermajority in the U.S. Supreme Court ended those protections by overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, Georgia law was allowed to go into effect. vigor.
Allowing pregnant women to claim their fetuses as dependents has been an idea supported by some in the anti-abortion movement for years. Bills allowing this have been introduced at the federal level at least twice.
Arizona passed a similar law, but enforcement of its law granting “personhood” to fetuses has been blocked by a court, said Elizabeth Nash, who studies state abortion policy for the Guttmacher Institute. .
Georgia’s tax ruling is the broadest interpretation of fetal personality to be adopted so far, she said through a spokesperson.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, which is one of several groups suing to block the law, said while a tax break is welcome, granting full personality to an embryo is dangerous.
“We are all for support measures for pregnant women, through tax credits or otherwise. What is dangerous and confusing is Georgia’s attempt to treat an embryo from the first days of pregnancy as a person with rights equivalent to those of the pregnant person,” said Julia Kaye, attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
The Georgia Department of Revenue did not immediately respond to a request for comment or clarification from Reuters.
Kansas votes on abortion rights in US test case
Meanwhile, voters in the state of Kansas in the US Midwest headed to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on the first major ballot on abortion since the Supreme Court ended the nation’s due process in June.
The vote is fraught with consequences for Kansans, who will decide whether or not to remove the right to terminate a pregnancy from the constitution of the traditionally conservative state.
But it is also seen as a test case for abortion rights across the country, as Republican-dominated legislatures rush to impose strict bans on the procedure following the Supreme Court’s decision to cancel Roe against Wade.
Turnout was high after the polls opened, according to Marsha Barrett, who said around 250 voters had turned up at Olathe station by noon – the same number you might see all day during a presidential election.
“This election is crazy,” Barrett told AFP. “People are determined to vote.”
Other states, including California and Kentucky, are expected to vote on the burning issue in November, coinciding with the midterm congressional elections in which Republicans and Democrats hope to use it to rally their supporters to national scale.
US Department of Justice sues Idaho to protect access to abortion
The US Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking to protect access to abortion, its first litigation since the Supreme Court struck down legal safeguards for the procedure.
The lawsuit against Idaho seeks to force the conservative Western state to abort women with medical emergencies in hospitals, which receive government Medicare funding.
Idaho is one of several states to impose a near-total ban on abortion after the Supreme Court in June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision enshrining a woman’s right to an abortion.
US President Joe Biden has condemned the Supreme Court’s decision and pledged to do everything in his power to ensure access to abortion.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the lawsuit was designed to protect women’s rights to access emergency medical care guaranteed under federal law.
The Justice Department said an Idaho law set to take effect Aug. 25 conflicts with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) passed by Congress.
EMTALA allows abortion in situations where the procedure is “necessary stabilization treatment for an emergency medical condition.”
Study finds 43 US clinics have stopped offering abortions
At least 43 clinics in the United States have stopped offering abortions since the Supreme Court struck down the nation’s right to procedure, according to a study published July 29.
In the month since the landmark June 24 decision, 11 states have banned abortion either after six weeks of pregnancy or altogether, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports access to abortion.
As a result, 43 clinics — including 23 in Texas alone, five in Oklahoma and five in Alabama — have closed or refocused their resources on other forms of care, according to the institute’s tally.
The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, also known as the Pink House – which was at the heart of the Supreme Court case – closed on July 7 after long being the only place offering abortions in the state of Mississippi.
“The already dire state of abortion access in many parts of the country will continue to deteriorate, and more states will enact abortion bans in the weeks and months to come,” the authors wrote. the study.
Some states, like Louisiana or North Dakota, have laws banning abortion, but legal battles have slowed the enactment of these new rules.
Others, like Indiana, called special sessions of the states Congress to pass new legislation.
Half of all US states, especially in the largely conservative South and Midwest, are expected to eventually ban abortions.