Mothers would have the ability to receive child support payments — while they are pregnant — under legislation being co-sponsored by Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.
The Unborn Child Support Act would allow a court, in consultation with the mother, to award child support payments while the child is still in the womb and retroactively up to the point of conception as determined by a physician. Mothers who don’t want the father involved wouldn’t be required to receive support. It would also mandate that all paternity tests be at the discretion of the mother and not be conducted if the test would put the child at risk.
“I hope good legislation, like the Unborn Child Support Act, gets more support now that the Dobbs decision encourages us to look more seriously at supporting mothers and their unborn children,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation would help ensure women have opportunities to receive child support payments from the earlier days of their pregnancy.”
U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., introduced the legislation in the Senate, with Senators Steve Daines, R-Mont., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and James Lankford, R-Okla., as additional original cosponsors.
“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,” Cramer said.
The Unborn Child Support Act would also:
- Provide flexibility for mothers, who do not want the involvement of the father, by not requiring those mothers to receive child support.
- Require judges to consult with mothers on payment plans and gives mothers discretion as to whether or not child support payments will be awarded retroactively.
- Mandate that all paternity tests be at the discretion of the mother and not be conducted if the test would put the child at risk.
The Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America support the legislation. In addition, a Bucknell Institute for Public Policy poll conducted in June indicates popular support for child support payments to begin at conception.
U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced a companion measure in the House of Representatives.