Utah dads have to pay half the cost of pregnancy

Salt Lake City (AP) — Utah’s biological father says women’s out-of-pocket pregnancy under new state-specific legislation that critics say isn’t enough to adequately address their mother’s medical needs You are legally required to pay half the cost.

The bill’s sponsors have proposed this measure as an effort to reduce the burden of pregnancy on women and increase the responsibility of men with children. However, some critics argue that the new law does not help the most vulnerable women and could make the abusive situation even more dangerous for pregnant women.

According to the state’s Planned Parenthood Association and bill sponsors, Utah seems to be the first state to mandate prenatal child support. However, some states, including Wisconsin and New York, have provisions that could result in the father being financially liable for prenatal costs.

Republican Governor Spencer Cox recently signed the proposal, which was widely endorsed by the GOP-controlled state legislature.

Republican Rep. Brady Brammer said he was dissatisfied with the number of anti-abortion measures passing through parliament and wanted to pursue a law that would make life easier for the world, so he decided to sponsor this measure. ..

“We want to help people and become a professional life the way we actually do it, not against abortion,” Brammer said. “One way to help with that was to help reduce the burden of pregnancy.”

The bill applies to pregnant women’s health insurance premiums and pregnancy-related medical costs, Brammer said.

If the child’s father is disputed, the father does not have to pay until the father is established. Unless it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape, the father will also not be financially liable for the cost of the abortion received without his consent.

In Utah, mothers already have the option to seek help related to childbirth costs through court, but rarely do so, said Liesa Stockdale, director of the state’s child support department. She said mothers will have access to options that also require pregnancy-related payments through the legal system, but it is unclear how often they will pursue it.

“I don’t know how often it will be used,” Stockdale said. “We still don’t know how often parents choose to pursue these costs, but if so, we’re here to collect them.”

The bill is not intended to reduce the frequency of abortions, but Brammer said it could be a potential consequence.

Activists against abortion have praised the bill, saying it will save the lives of the feet by helping women through pregnancy. Mellie Boyak, chairman of the Utah Union without abortion, said the bill hopes to reduce abortion in the state by reducing economic pressure on new mothers.

“Whatever we can do to support a woman in this situation will help her to give birth to a baby, be happy with her choices and feel supported along the way. “Boyak said.

The new law is on a long list of restrictions imposed by Utah on abortion. Last year, the state approved measures to make abortion illegal if the US Supreme Court overturned a decade-old ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Utah’s actions will make it a felony to carry out the procedure unless it involves rape, incest, or a serious threat to the life of the mother.

Other Republican states are considering a series of strict anti-abortion restrictions this year. A total ban on abortion has already been enacted in South Carolina and Arkansas.

Democrats and women’s rights activists have questioned whether the new law on fathers to help cover the costs actually meets the needs of women.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Katrina Barker supports giving women financial support, but better than helping women with increased Medicaid, access to contraception, and paid parental leave. He said there was a way.

Barker also said that the law usually does not reduce the number of women who have an abortion because the cost of pregnancy is usually smaller than the cost of raising a child.

“In a grand plan of things, having a child and raising it to adulthood would be a lot more money,” Barker said.

According to a USDA 2015 report, the average cost of raising a child in a middle-income household is $ 233,610, excluding college costs. According to Planned Parenthood, the cost of an abortion can range from free to up to $ 1,000, depending on the location and whether the mother has health insurance.

Domestic violence tends to escalate during pregnancy, and asking for these costs may further increase the stress of financially supporting the baby, serving survivors of domestic violence. Said Gabriella Archuleta, a public policy analyst at YWCA Utah, who provides. According to data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 324,000 pregnant women are abused each year in the United States.

Archuleta also said that this measure does not fairly address the high costs of navigating the legal system and is likely to only serve wealthy women or women with wealthy partners.

“On the surface, that sounds like a good idea,” Archuleta said. “But what we’re trying to do here is to look at some of the nuances and how they affect women. I don’t think those nuances were actually investigated to the extent they should be. . “


Eppolito is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.