Sens. Mario Rubio (R-FL) and Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) have introduced a new piece of legislation requiring fathers to pay child support starting in “the first month in which the child was conceived, as determined by a physician,” The Hill reports.
The Unborn Child Support Act would change part of the Social Security Act to “ensure that child support for unborn children is collected and distributed under the child support enforcement program.” If this passes, pregnant mothers would have a choice to request child support payments during pregnancy. A court could then order “the biological father of an unborn child” to pay. According to the draft, payments “may be retroactively collected or awarded, including in the case where paternity is established after the birth of the child.”
From The Hill:
“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 in a statement.
As NBC WLFA points out, Florida had drawn up a similar version of this bill, adding it as an amendment to their 15-week abortion ban.
“Caring for the well-being of our children begins long before a baby is born,” Cramer said. “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.”
However, there’s a lot to the word “at conception.” While this may seem like a “good faith” effort, the Unborn Child Support Act could be a way to codify a new definition of conception into law. Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund co-founder Laurie Bertram Roberts believes this is a way for Republicans to instill a personhood provision to outlaw all abortion laws. Georgia and Arizona have recently fought against personhood amendments that would have granted rights to “fetuses, embryos, and fertilized eggs.”
From the Mississippi Free Press:
“This is not the first time they’ve tried to insert this personhood language into a national bill,” she said. “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 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.’”
Sen. Cramer and others have also tried to pass the Life at Conception Act in 2021. The legislation would further define “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.”