INDIANAPOLIS–Lawmakers at the Indiana Statehouse are reviewing a bill (Senate Bill 98) that would allow a person who is pregnant to be able to claim a fetus as a dependent on their taxes.
The bill was reviewed by this week. It was written by State Senator Andy Zay, R-District 17. Zay also brought this bill up last session. Lawmakers won’t be taking any action on the bill this session, but it is being brought up to continue the discussion.
Senate Bill 98 says a fetus would be considered a dependent child, which would allow for a $1,500 dependent child exemption at tax time. The person expecting the child would also qualify for a $1,000 personal exemption on their taxes.
Zay says the person filing the exemption would be required to get a doctor’s signature that verifies the pregnancy. In the cases of a miscarriage or still birth, a person could still qualify for the deduction as long as proof of pregnancy is provided.
This week, the organization Indiana Right to Life said the bill needs to have an amendment in it that requires pregnancy to be proven through a Social Security number or a fetal death certificate in the case of a miscarriage to help prevent fraud.
“We believe that acknowledging children from conception helps create a culture of life in Indiana and organizationally, we’re really excited to see parents rewarded for having children and to be encouraged to take good care of them,” said Jodi Smith, with Indiana Right to Life.
Those who are against the bill says it is intrusive because it would subject those who are pregnant to surveillance by the state, possibly criminalizing them should something go wrong in the early stages of pregnancy. They also don’t think it addresses concerns about the state’s maternal and infant mortality rates.
“The bill takes the state of Indiana another step closer to criminalizing any behavior that is deemed to threaten a pregnancy, placing the rights of the fetus or embryo above the rights of the pregnant person,” said Haley Bougher, with Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates.
Supporters of it say this bill would give vital financial support to families as they go through a pregnancy.
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