Utah Passes Law Requiring Fathers to Pay Prenatal Child Support

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The new law will require fathers to pay 50% of prenatal expenses.

A new law in Utah will require fathers to pay half of a woman’s out-of-pocket expenses during her pregnancy. The hope for the bill, sponsored by Republican state Representative Brady Brammer, is to help decrease the burden felt by pregnant women.

It was signed by Governor Spencer Cox after it received the support of GOP lawmakers in the state, but some critics of the bill argued that the new legislation wouldn’t help women who are most vulnerable and could make abusive situations worse for pregnant women, ABC News reported.

“We want to help people and actually be pro-life in how we do it as opposed to anti-abortion,” Brammer said of the bill. “One of the ways to help with that was to help the burden of pregnancy be decreased.”

The bill would specifically apply to a woman’s health-insurance premiums and any pregnancy-related medical care. An abortion without the consent of the father will be excluded from his financial responsibilities unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or if the mother’s life is in danger due to the pregnancy.

Paternity of the child will be established, if it is disputed, before the father is required to pay. Some claimed the bill will only help wealthy women who have wealthy partners because the money it costs to pursue legal action to get prenatal support is not affordable for some.

While Utah is the first state to have a law for prenatal child support, states like New York and Wisconsin have some provisions for pre-birth expenses, the Associated Press reported.

This new law follows some other measures Utah has placed on abortion, including one that makes abortions illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a ruling that legalized it across the U.S. The state’s measure would make it a felony to have an abortion unless the mother’s life was at risk or rape or incest occurred

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Katrina Barker told the AP she is in support of women having more financial support but there are better ways to do it, like expanding Medicaid, access to contraception and providing paid parental leave.