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Bill to provide tax deduction for fetus won't advance in 2024 session

Andy Zay speaks at a lectern on the floor of the Indiana Senate. Zay is a White man with white and gray hair, wearing glasses and a suit and tie.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) said his bill to provide a state income tax deduction for pregnant people is about supporting expecting parents and families.

Pregnant people could claim their fetus as a dependent on their state taxes under legislation in a Senate committee.

But Tuesday’s hearing on the bill is as far as it will go this session.

Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) said in the wake of Indiana’s near-total abortion ban, providing the tax deduction would help support expecting parents and families.

His legislation, SB 98, also requires the person getting the deduction to submit a radiology imaging report to prove they were pregnant.

“You’re building that relationship to hopefully get prenatal care and care for that mother and child as they go through the process of pregnancy,” Zay said.

READ MORE: Indiana’s abortion ban has few exceptions. But navigating them can be difficult for providers

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But opponents of the bill said that’s an invasive surveillance of pregnancy. And University of Indianapolis sociology professor Elizabeth Ziff said the measure takes a step closer to fetal personhood, which she worries will be used to criminalize any activity in pregnancy that might risk a fetus.

“And placing the rights of the fetus or embryo above the rights of the pregnant person,” Ziff said.

Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee Chair Travis Holdman (R-Markle) said he won’t take a vote on the bill this session because of the ongoing legislative task force studying the state’s entire tax system.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.