Thursday, July 28, 2005

Unwed dads would pay for births under plan

Missouri lawmakers have a plan to make unwed fathers reimburse the state for Medicaid costs related to the birth of their children, reports The Lebanon Daily Record (via Blogging Baby). Opponents of the proposal say the plan is unworkable, and may cause women to forgo prenatal care rather than help the state go after their boyfriends, as well as discourage voluntary acknowlegement of paternity by the fathers.

Can't child support be made retroactive to before the baby's birth? Just a thought.


TulipGirl said...

One concern I have about this, is that it may put pregnant women who want to carry to term and raise their child under MORE pressure from their boyfriend to abort.

As much talk as there is about "freedom to choose," the reality is often decisions to abort are made under duress. How many times I've heard women share the "Abort or I'll leave. . ." pressure from their boyfriends/husbands.

While I do believe fathers ought to take responsibility for their children, I'm concerned that this measure could lead to more pressure on women when they don't want to abort.

The Mommy Blawger said...

That was actually my husband's first thought, too.

Does it help if dad doesn't get dinged until after the baby is born?

I know in Texas, if a woman applies for public assistance/food stamps, etc. and she is not receiving child support, the AG will go after dad for reimbursement. Some women who are eligible do not apply for assistance simply because they don't want to name the father. If he's paying, he usually wants visitation. The same could happen here. And there was a recent study that dads who are identified as such at the time of birth are more involved in their children's lives than those identified later.

Of course, none of this addresses the real problem...

Anonymous said...

This is already the policy in Wisconsin. While I can't speak to the issues of abortion pressure, when I worked at a health care non-profit we saw a huge negative impact on the standard of living for women who were living with the father of their baby but were not married to him for whatever reason, because the money was coming out of the family pockets. I don't know if it was the legislature's intention to use this proposal as a crappy, back-handed way to encourage marriage, but that's been one of it's biggest effects.