About a year ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Since then, 13 states have effectively banned abortion and an additional 13 states they have placed strong restrictions on who can get an abortion. The charge-Dobbs The outlook has also prompted states with stricter abortion restrictions to reconsider their tax codes.
Since then, 12 state legislatures have considered tax proposals motivated by the Dobbs decision, and two states: Georgia and Mississippi — have implemented them. The most common proposals would add fetuses to the tax code’s definition of “child” and make crisis pregnancy centers, nonprofit organizations established by anti-abortion groups that seek to discourage women from having abortions, eligible for tax deductions. charitable
Dependent exemptions for future tax filers
Lawmakers in seven states and some members of Congress have introduced legislation that would allow taxpayers to claim a fetus as a dependent. the governor of Utah he proposed this policy in his State of the State Address and Georgia introduced the policy earlier this year.
The amounts provided under these policies are small. Georgia offers a maximum $150 in tax savings. And because it’s a deduction, not a refundable tax credit, many low-income families can’t even get that benefit. Other states wouldn’t be much more generous; the largest proposed deduction, in Michiganwould provide a maximum of $203 (figure 1).
Beyond offering limited tax benefits, these deductions can be cumbersome to claim. As my colleague Richard Auxier pointed out, it’s not always easy to know who is eligible to claim a fetus as a dependent. Medical documentation could be difficult to access, expensive, and difficult for tax authorities to assess. And these policies could be cruel to parents-to-be: should miscarriages and stillbirths be reported to accountants and tax authorities?
Despite the small amounts available and the difficulties in claiming tax benefits, these policies could have significant consequences. As my colleague Renu Zaretsky pointed out last spring, these bills are designed to tell voters that sponsors oppose abortion and to define life and parenthood on the legislators’ terms. Georgia tax relief and proposed bills in Michigan and Wisconsin — define the fetus as a person, settlement of conflicts with the rights of pregnant people.
Deductions for Donations to Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Five states have also considered laws that would provide tax breaks to those who donate to crisis pregnancy centers. Also, Missouri has a pre-Dobbs tax credit for donations to crisis pregnancy centers in the state.
Crisis pregnancy centers, sometimes called pregnancy resource centers or maternal wellness centers, seek to discourage or prevent people from terminating a pregnancy. they often use deceptive tacticssupply false information about abortion, and they are poorly regulated; many do not have medical personnel. Despite this, they are sometimes in public founded.
The proposed tax credits could provide significant new funding to crisis pregnancy centers. Alabama (when a bill passed the House and went to the Senate) and Kansas (where the governor vetoed a proposal) would have each provided $10 million in new tax credits to donors, while Louisiana (where a proposal was sent to the Governor and is expected to become law) would provide up to $5 million. These credits could also give taxpayers much larger deductions than they could receive by donating to other charities.
We are likely to see additional types of tax legislation motivated by Dobbs decision. Texas has considered prohibiting the receipt of tax breaks by companies that pay for employee abortions and West Virginia Lawmakers have tied the expanded adoption tax credits to funding the crisis pregnancy center. As busy as lawmakers have been in the first year after the Dobbs Tax proposals related to the abortion debate are likely to become even more common in the coming years.