Child support laws have been in existence since the mid-seventies. But since their inception they have sought to provide support to a child who is already living and breathing in the world. But the care for a child begins long before birth. There are expensive tests, screenings, and ultrasounds that need to be paid for. And with the way our healthcare system is set up, all of these procedures can be pretty pricey ($1000 or more) even with insurance.
Being that it generally takes two people to make a child, it’s unfair that the financial burden should fall on one person alone. And to be honest, most of the time, all of this falls on the person carrying the child, usually the mother.
Apparently, the state of Utah is looking to do something about this inequality.
According to the Associated Press, a new proposed bill will require biological fathers to pay for half of the out-of-pocket costs associated with pregnancy.
The bill, sponsored by Republican representative and signed by Governor Spencer Cox, the legislation was largely supported by lawmakers in the state.
If the paternity of the child is in question, the father is not responsible for any costs until paternity is established.
The bill asserts that if the mother of the child has willfully terminates the pregnancy, outside of medical necessity for the health of the mother or due to rape or incest, the father does not owe any money.
Utah is the first state to mandate prenatal support. But states like New York and Wisconsin also have some provisions that require fathers to pay for these expenses.
Critics of the bill believe the bill could actually do a disservice to women who are in abusive relationships. Studies have shown that violence tends to escalate during pregnancy and many believe the bill would result in violent partners exercising additional control.