Republican lawmakers across the country want to use prenatal DNA testing to assign child support before a child is born. Introduced partly in response to the Democrat-backed Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would give new moms and dads paid family leave, the Unborn Child Support Act, introduced by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) would provide moms and babies with more money, but at what cost to men and their children?
‘Men Need to Take Care of Their Responsibilities,’ Say Senators
The bill was cosponsored by the following legislators:
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Steve Daines (R-MT)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
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The cosponsors released similar statements on the rights of the child and the mother, but focused solely on the responsibilities of the fathers involved:
“Fatherhood is an important responsibility,” said Senator Daines. “This bill supports new mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy by ensuring that expectant fathers take responsibility for the new life they helped create from the moment that life first begins.”
“Fathers have serious obligations to the mothers of their children that start well before birth,” said Senator Cotton. “Our bill will ensure men live up to their responsibilities as fathers by providing financial support to mothers throughout the course of pregnancy.”
Payments Retroactive Up To Point of Conception
In a major push toward recognizing the rights of the unborn while also stepping away from paid leave mandates that could hurt big business, the bill calls for courts to award child support to expectant mothers with the possibility of backdating payments up to the point of conception. Men could wind up thousands of dollars in arrears before they even know they’ve fathered a child!
Bill Would Allow Mothers to Control Fathers’ Involvement
The bill also allows a woman to control the extent to which fathers are involved in the lives of their children, which is then tied to the extent to which the men are responsible for providing assistance during the pregnancy. They would determine whether or not to test for DNA matching, whether child support payments should be retroactive and whether men should be informed of the baby at all.
But what will happen when expectant mothers apply for programs like food assistant, rental assistance, welfare or Medicaid? In nearly all states, mothers receiving state assistance are required to name a father so that the state can go after the named father for reimbursement. We can only assume the same will be true for assistance to expectant mothers.
What happens when fathers can’t pay? They get penalized by having their drivers or professional licenses suspended, and their tax returns intercepted. Or they end up overwhelmed, and just giving up and disappearing. Both situations interrupt their ability to support and see their children.
How Can You Fight the Unborn Child Support Act
Contact your state senators (from both parties) and let them know you oppose the Unborn Child Support Act and why. You don’t have to live in a state that is represented by one of the co-sponsors of the bill (because all senators will eventually have to weigh in on it), but if you are in one of the co-sponsors states, then be sure to get your thoughts to them sooner than later – if enough people in their states oppose it, it can die before it ever gets out.
Each state is represented by two U.S. Senators. Find yours here. Visit their websites and use the contact feature to reach out by phone, mail or email.
You can also write letters to the editor of your local paper and share articles like this one. Ask friends and family to tell legislators this is not the way to support the rights of the unborn child.
Instead of laws that circumvent a man’s involvement with his children, legislators should focus on programs that research has proven to be good investments for families and society, like improved training programs and paid leave.
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