Republicans Seek Child Support Payments for Fetuses
New legislation would require some fathers to pay child support during pregnancy, beginning in the month of conception. The Unborn Child Support Act—introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R–N.D.) last Wednesday—would amend the Social Security Act “to ensure that child support for unborn children is collected and distributed under the child support enforcement program.”
The legislation (Senate Bill 4512) already has nine co-sponsors—all Republicans—including Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.). A companion bill in the House, introduced by Rep. Mike Johnson (R–La.), has 13 co-sponsors.
Under the Unborn Child Support Act, a pregnant woman could request child support during pregnancy and the state could order “the biological father of an unborn child” to pay, beginning “with the first month in which the child was conceived, as determined by a physician.” Unborn child is defined as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”
Such payments “may be retroactively collected or awarded, including in the case where paternity is established subsequent to the birth of the child,” the draft law states.
I’m introducing the Unborn Child Support Act with @RepMikeJohnson, legislation to give mothers the ability to receive child support payments while pregnant.
Our bill makes it possible for mothers to receive payments as soon as she’s supporting a child. https://t.co/fCxAUxi8dm
— Sen. Kevin Cramer (@SenKevinCramer) July 13, 2022
Abortion opponents are often accused of not doing much to actually help women with unwanted or difficult pregnancies. Looked at in one light, the Unborn Child Support Act is simply a bid to remedy that.
“Caring for the well-being of our children begins long before a baby is born,” said Cramer in a statement. “It begins at the first moment of life—conception—and fathers have obligations, financial and otherwise, during pregnancy.”
But sponsors of the bill may have a hidden agenda. By amending federal law to say that child support is owed during pregnancy, the Unborn Child Support Act could help establish that legal personhood begins at conception—a change that could have implications far beyond child support.
“Life begins at conception. This bill is a simple first step toward updating our federal laws to reflect that fact,” tweeted Johnson last week.
Cramer and several co-sponsors of the Unborn Child Support Act are also co-sponsors of a stalled federal bill declaring that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”
“This is not the first time they’ve tried to insert this personhood language into a national bill,” Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund co-founder Laurie Bertram Roberts told the Mississippi Free Press. “And see, the way they’re doing it is very sneaky, the way they’re doing it is under the guise of, ‘Oh look, doesn’t this make sense?’ Because this is one of those arguments that has been coming from people who actually support abortion, which is why I tell people not to make these arguments, even in jest, like, ‘If y’all want to make us have babies, start child support at the moment of conception.'”
Roberts also suggested that the bill could be “another way to nickel and dime low-income and working class non-custodial parents in a way that makes money for the state.”
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Article from Reason.com