Some guidance issued for Georgians to claim embryos on their taxes

Interior of an operation room at Feminist Women's Health Center on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.(Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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Interior of an operation room at Feminist Women's Health Center on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.(Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

The Georgia Department of Revenue on Monday released guidance for parents who are expecting children to claim an embryo on their taxes.

In a press release, Revenue Department officials said anyone who is expecting a child as of July 20 through the end of the year can claim in their 2022 filing a $3,000 tax deduction per embryo or fetus on the “other adjustments” line of the state’s tax documents. The department said it may ask for proof of the pregnancy.

“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 agency said in the press release.

The change was required after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Georgia’s law limiting abortions to take effect last month. A section of the law allows parents to claim an embryo once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically at about six weeks gestation and before many know they are pregnant.

Georgia’s new law bans abortions after the detection of fetal cardiac activity, except in cases of rape, incest, if the life of the woman is in danger or in instances of “medical futility,” when a fetus would not be able to survive. A police report is required in order to obtain a later abortion if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest.

Once fetal cardiac activity is detected, the law allows expectant mothers to file for child support to cover the costs of pregnancy and delivery, and it requires state officials to count an unborn child toward Georgia’s population in census counts. It also expands the definition of “natural person” to “any human being including an unborn child” at any stage of development and grants rights to an embryo or fetus, called “personhood” provisions.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia’s abortion law in 2019, but the courts blocked it until last month. Many state agencies said in the days after the law took effect that they had not determined how to implement the “personhood” provisions.

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate began speculating in December that the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, after analyzing oral arguments made about an abortion law in Mississippi.

A draft copy of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe was leaked in May, setting the stage for the inevitable final decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that was made in late June. Last month, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its order, allowing Georgia’s law to take effect.