(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced a bill that would allow child support payments to begin at the time of conception, instead of after a child’s birth.
“We should do everything we can to support American mothers and their children. This bill would allow expecting mothers to prepare and support their babies before they are born,” Rubio said.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), the bill’s co-author, stated, “Caring for the well-being of our children begins long before a baby is born. It begins at the first moment of life – conception – and fathers have obligations, financial and otherwise, during pregnancy. Mothers should be able to access child support payments as soon as she is supporting a child. Our bill makes this possible.”
The bill, known as the “Unborn Child Support Act,” amends the Social Security Act to allow mothers to begin collecting child support payments from their child’s father during the first month of pregnancy. The new text also allows payments during the pregnancy to be collected after the baby is born when a paternity test is used to establish the identity of the father.
In addition to the two authors, the bill currently has nine co-sponsors. The act will need 60 yes votes in order to pass the Senate, which is divided evenly between the chamber’s 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats.
A similar bill was introduced in the Oklahoma State Legislature in January by a Democratic lawmaker. That bill, which also allowed child support payments to begin at conception, was criticized for implicitly recognizing that life begins at conception, a position held by many Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature.
The author, Forrest Bennet, defended his legislation, saying: “*IF* this state [Oklahoma] outlaws abortion and *IF* it tries to define life as beginning at conception, it owes its people the kind of policy that supports & helps babies & parents, not just policies that force birth.”
In 2021, Utah became the first state to require biological fathers to pay half of a woman’s pregnancy-related medical costs. That law makes an exception for the cost of having an abortion, which the father would only be required to help pay for if it is necessary to save the mother’s life or if the pregnancy was the result of rape.
Certain states have laws that allow mothers to collect payments for pregnancy-related expenses from fathers in limited circumstances. Wisconsin, for example, allows courts to order fathers to pay for part or all of the cost of birth.
A survey from the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy found that 47% or nearly half of Americans favored proposals to begin child support at conception while 28% were opposed and 25% were unsure.
Chris Ellis, co-director of the institute and political science professor at Bucknell University, said this finding extended across political and ideological lines, including those who described themselves as “pro life,” “pro choice,” Republican and Democrat.
However, women were more likely than men to favor the idea, the survey found.
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