The fight against the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has turned into a battle, which threatens to become a war with the introduction of this new bill.
As reported by CBS News, Republican lawmakers have introduced a new bill, the Unborn Child Support Act, in the Senate and House. This will “give mothers the ability to receive child support payments while they are pregnant,” according to a statement from Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota.
The proposal would deem prospective fathers responsible from the moment of conception.
With two dozen states (and growing) restricting abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down the 50 year old precedent set through Roe v. Wade, support programs for pregnant women and women with newborn children are lacking in the places that are calling abortion illegal.
This includes the eight states that opted out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which covers pregnancy through postpartum for low-income Americans.
Democrats and supporters of reproductive rights are concerned that this new legislation will change the status of a fetus. The idea of “personhood” has legal implications for the rights of a fetus versus those of the parent and is a longstanding issue on both sides of the abortion debate.
Meanwhile, Cramer, an advocate for the bill’s passing, said, “Mothers should be able to access child support payments as soon as she supports a child. Fathers have obligations, financial and otherwise, during pregnancy.”
It is unclear whether this bill has any traction in Congress, and Roe v. Wade’s overturning has created complicated legal situations. For instance, a pregnant Texas woman pulled over earlier this month for driving in a high-occupancy vehicle lane argued that her unborn baby should count as a second person, citing the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.“I don’t think they care about people getting support when pregnant,” Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund co-founder Laurie Bertram Roberts told the Mississippi Free Press. “I think their real goal is to get personhood language into a bill.”
Under the proposal, the bill would amend the Social Security Act, which requires states to manage a public child support system that oversees issues such as determining paternity and collecting monies as a result of being a custodial or non-custodial parent. Once implemented, a court could award child support payments prior to birth and retroactively to the point of conception, as determined by a doctor, according to the statement.
It also wouldn’t require women to ask for child support if they don’t want the prospective father’s involvement. Paternity tests would be up to the prospect mother, the statement also includes.
The Unborn Child Support Act is co-sponsored by a number of Republican lawmakers, including Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Marco Rubio of Florida.