In Georgia, All You Need for a $3K Tax Credit is a Heartbeat: the Weird Fallout From Overturning Roe V Wade
When the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned Roe v Wade, it was clear that the effects would
When the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned Roe v Wade, it was clear that the effects would be far-reaching and, in some cases, unexpected.
But one very unexpected effect has just been revealed in Georgia – where pregnant residents of the state are now getting a boost to their taxes, as long as their embryos have a detectable heartbeat.
Georgia, Good News: That Embryo is Worth Some Cash
JUST IN Georgia residents can now claim embryos as dependents on state taxes.— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) August 2, 2022
Taxpayers who have “an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat” as of July 20 can get $3,000 for each unborn child: @Eli_Fieldstadt, @NBCNews https://t.co/Iz42l4urXf
In Georgia, you can now officially claim your embryo on your taxes – as long as there's a detectable heartbeat.
This lines up with the state's restriction on abortion which prevents the procedure after a heartbeat is detected, around 6 weeks of pregnancy.
Because the restrictive Georgia abortion law assigns personhood to an embryo once it has a heartbeat – a controversial milestone, according to experts – they're also eligible for the perks of being a Georgia resident.
In this case, it's a $3K state tax credit.
At 6 weeks, many women don't even know they're pregnant, but now they're carrying a Georgia resident with some cash perks.
It’s Good for the Wallet, but is it Good for the Family?
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?— Lauren Groh-Wargo (@gwlauren) August 2, 2022
Of course, while this is good for the family wallet, it may pose serious risks to pregnant women in the state.
After all, if the embryo is granted personhood, anything that happens to it becomes the responsibility of the vessel, in this case the biological mother.
Unfortunately, that may include spontaneous miscarriages.
There are a million and one reasons why a pregnancy could terminate itself spontaneously, and many women won't even know why. As many as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
But what if that embryo, 6 weeks and a day for this hypothetical scenario, was granted personhood. If a woman drinks heavily at 5.5 weeks, not realizing yet that she's pregnant, and miscarries at 6 weeks and 1 day – after she's confirmed pregnancy and the heartbeat, can she be found liable for abuse? Negligence? What about murder?
While people are meme-ing and joking about Georgia embryos getting that cash check, women in the state are facing a dangerous slippery slope that many experts say don't align with what we know about consciousness in embryos.
According to experts, just having a detectable heartbeat does not make an embryo aware; in fact, embryos develop a recognizable heartbeat before the heart is even fully formed, and well before the brain has formed enough to produce self-awareness or thought patterns.
So women in Georgia face the grim reality that the embryo in their body is not only worth more – $3K – but may also land them in jail for unintended and accidental choices they make before even finding out they're pregnant.
And financial concerns have many questioning the decision. The Guardian reports, "Legal analysts and advocates for abortion rights greeted the announcement with dismay and skepticism.
Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State University law professor and political scientist, tweeted that some pregnancies detected within six weeks of gestation 'result in natural miscarriages', which could leave the Georgia’s treasury 'handing out a lot of cash for pregnancies that would never come to term.'
Lauren Groh-Wargo, manager of Stacey Abrams’s campaign for Georgia governor, tweeted: 'So what happens when you claim your fetus as a dependent and then miscarry later in the pregnancy, you get investigated both for [possible] tax fraud and an illegal abortion?'”
Other conservative states around the nation are watching Georgia's restrictive law – one of the harshest in the nation – and what the political fallout may be.
And in Texas, one woman is fighting a ticket she received while using the carpool lane which requires at least one passenger. The woman was heavily pregnant at the time, and has proposed that the state's law on personhood, which is similar to Georgias, means that her fetus counts as a passenger.