Under a new law in Utah, biological fathers in the state would be legally required to pay for the out-of-pocket costs of a woman’s pregnancy. However, critics say this new law is still lacking in addressing the needs for maternal health care.
The sponsor of the said bill proposed the measure in an effort to lower the burden of pregnancy on women while increasing responsibility for the men who have children. However, several critics say this proposal doesn’t help vulnerable women and could make abusive situations more dangerous.
Utah seems to be the first state that mandates child support prior to the kid being born, as per Planned Parenthood Utah and Rep. Brady Brammer, the bill’s author. A few states, however, have provisions in place in which fathers can be financially responsible for prenatal expenses.
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Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed the bill. The said measure had also received a lot of support in the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature.
According to Brammer, he sponsored the bill since he became frustrated with the wide array of anti-abortion measures passing through the state’s Legislature. He says he wanted to push for legislation that would make it easier to welcome new life into the world.
Utah Bill Aims To “Actually Be Pro-Life” by Decreasing Pregnancy Costs
Brammer said they want to help and “actually be pro-life” compared to anti-abortion. He added that one way to do this was to help decrease “the burden of pregnancy.”
The proposal applies to the health insurance premiums of pregnant women, as well as pregnancy-related costs.
In cases where the paternity of a child is disputed, the fathers will not be obligated to pay until the paternity is confirmed. The father also would not be responsible for the cost of an abortion he did not consent to, unless the procedure is medically necessary to save the mother’s life or if the pregnancy was caused by rape.
In the state of Uta, mothers have the option to seek support for birth expenses via courts. However, not a lot of people do so, according to Utah Recovery Services Director Liesa Stockdale. She added that mothers now have the option to seek out payments for pregnancy expenses. However, she is unsure how they will pursue it.
Additionally, the bill doesn’t intend to lower the rate of abortions, but Brammer mentioned its possibility.
Many activists who are against abortion have praised the bill. They say it protects the lives of unborn children by giving women support during their pregnancy.
This new legislation came following a long list of restrictions against abortion in the state. In 2020, Utah approved a measure that would make abortions illegal if SCOTUS overturns the ruling that made it legal in the country.