By: April Carson
On Wednesday, Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) introduced a bill that would allow moms to start collecting child support before they even know they're pregnant.
The bicameral bill, which would modify the Social Security Act "to ensure that child support for unborn children is collected and distributed through the child support enforcement system," aims to reform how social security benefits are taxed.
Currently, when a parent files for child support, they have to wait until the child is born to receive any benefits. But under Rubio and Cramer's proposed legislation, parents would be able to start collecting those benefits as soon as they conceive.
Mothers would be able to seek child support from the month of conception onward under the legislation, but they would not be required to do so.
Mothers will also be able to decide whether to accept retroactive child support payments throughout the month of conception, including if paternity is only established after the kid's birth.
“The well-being of our children starts long before they are born. It begins at the moment of conception and fathers have responsibilities, both financial and otherwise, throughout pregnancy,” Cramer added of the measure.
The bill has been co-sponsored by eight Republican senators, including Steve Daines of Montana, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida, Roger Marshall of Kansas, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
In the House, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) has introduced companion legislation to the Unborn Child Support Act. The bill currently has more than 60 co-sponsors, all Republicans.
“I'm excited about the chance to support the Unborn Child Support Act, which I believe will get more attention now that the Dobbs decision has encouraged us to pay greater attention to supporting moms and their unborn children,” Hyde-Smith added in favor of the measure.
The Unborn Child Support Act is one of several bills introduced by Republicans to assist moms in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
On Thursday, Rubio released a bill called the Standing with Moms Act as part of his "pro-life, pro-family framework" following Dobbs' decision.
The plan also calls for expanding the child tax credit, increasing funding to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and making the adoption tax credit fully refundable.
"We're going to provide support for mothers and their children, not just in the womb, but also after they're born," Rubio said on Thursday.
After they have been born, some Republican lawmakers are defending themselves against criticism from both the public and their Democratic counterparts who accuse them of indifference to new moms and children.
“They don't only want to make women have babies if they are pregnant, but once they do, they don't want to give them any support.” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told The Washington Post earlier this year that she was “in disbelief” while hearing stories from female veterans in her state who were denied assistance after giving birth due to alleged cuts in funding for the program.
“If a fetus is considered a person at six weeks pregnant, when does child support begin?... Is it worth going all in if we're heading here?” This question was posed by Washington and Lee University Law School Professor Carliss Chatman on Twitter in May.
Following the collapse of Roe, Hollywood has spoken up on the issue of child support. "At the moment of conception, the father should be financially responsible in States where abortion is prohibited," actor Ken Olin tweeted days after Dobbs was handed down.
In a news release, Cramer referred to a Bucknell University Institute for Public Policy poll that found that 80 percent of respondents believe child support payments should begin at conception.
"The vast majority of Americans understand that fathers should be responsible for their children from the moment of conception," Cramer said. "It's time our laws reflected this common-sense view."
Rubio has also proposed legislation that would grant child support payments from the moment of conception. The Child Support Protection Act would require states to provide child support for "any period during which the mother is expecting a child," according to a press release.
The bill would also " establish penalties for any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false claim or representation regarding paternity or maternity of a child in order to receive child support payments."
According to a recent poll, half of respondents—including 53 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 40 percent of independents—favored payments beginning at conception. A quarter of respondents (28%) were against an increase in child support, while another 25% said they were undecided.
The logic of paying child support from the moment of conception is simple: it costs money to raise a child, and both parents should share in the responsibility.
Furthermore, by making child support payments mandatory from the outset, fathers would be more likely to take an active role in their children's lives—something that is beneficial for both the father and the child.
Not everyone agrees with this line of thinking, however. Some argue that child support should only be mandatory once the child is born, as it is the mother who incurs the majority of costs during pregnancy and childbirth. Others believe that fathers should only be responsible for child support if they have actively chosen to opt out of parenting responsibilities—that is, if they are absent from their children's lives.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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