clearn.png
Sunday April 11th, 2021 12:23AM

Utah dads to be required to pay half of pregnancy costs

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Biological fathers in Utah will be legally required to pay half of a woman’s out-of-pocket pregnancy costs under a new law unique to the state that critics say doesn’t do enough to adequately address maternal healthcare needs.

The bill’s sponsor has presented the measure as an effort to decrease the burden of pregnancy on women and increase responsibility for men who have children. But some critics argue the new legislation won’t help women who are most vulnerable and could make abusive situations even more dangerous for pregnant women.

Utah appears to be the first state to mandate prenatal child support, according to the state’s Planned Parenthood association and the bill’s sponsor. But a few states, including Wisconsin and New York, have provisions that can result in fathers being financially responsible for pre-birth expenses.

Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, recently signed the proposal, which received widespread support in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Republican Rep. Brady Brammer said he decided to sponsor the measure because he had grown frustrated with the number of anti-abortion measures going through the Legislature and wanted to pursue legislation that would make it easier to bring life into the world.

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

The bill would apply to a pregnant woman’s health insurance premiums and any pregnancy-related medical costs, Brammer said.

If the paternity of the child is disputed, fathers won’t be required to pay until after paternity is established. The father also wouldn’t be financially responsible for the cost of an abortion received without his consent unless it’s necessary to prevent the death of the mother or if the pregnancy was the result of rape.

In Utah, mothers already have the option to seek support related to birth expenses through the courts but few do, said Liesa Stockdale, director of the state’s Office of Recovery Services, which typically collects child support. She said mothers will now have the option to also seek pregnancy-related payments through the legal system, but it’s unclear how often they will pursue it.

“I don’t know how often it will be used,” Stockdale said. “That’s yet to be seen how often parents will choose to pursue these costs. But certainly if they do, we’re here to collect.”

The bill is not intended to lower the frequency of abortions, but Brammer said that could be a potential result.

Anti-abortion activists have lauded the bill, however, saying it will protect the lives of unborn children by supporting women through their pregnancy. Merrilee Boyack, chairman of the Abortion-Free Utah coalition, said she hopes this bill will decrease abortions in the state by lessening economic pressures on new moms.

“Anything we can do to support women in these circumstances will help them be able to give birth to their babies, feel good about that choice and feel supported along the way,” Boyack said.

The new legislation comes on top of a long list of restrictions Utah has placed on abortion. Last year, the state approved a measure that would make abortions illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the decades-old ruling that legalized it nationwide. The Utah measure would make it a felony to perform the procedure, except in cases involving rape, incest and serious threat to the life of a mother.

Other Republican-governed states have been considering an array of tough anti-abortion restrictions this year. Sweeping abortion bans have already been signed into law in South Carolina and Arkansas.

Democratic lawmakers and women’s rights activists have questioned whether the new legislation on fathers helping to cover costs will actually meet women’s needs.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Katrina Barker said she supports giving women more financial support but said there are better ways to help women, like expanding Medicaid, access to contraception and providing paid parental leave.

Barker also said she doesn’t believe this legislation will lead to fewer women having abortions because the costs of pregnancy are typically small compared with the costs of raising a child.

“In the grand scheme of things, having a child and raising them to adulthood is going to be a lot more money,” Barker said.

The average cost of raising a child is $233,610 – excluding the cost of college – for a middle-income family, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The cost of an abortion can range from being free to up to $1,000 depending on location and whether the mother has health insurance, according to Planned Parenthood.

Domestic abuse tends to escalate during pregnancy and seeking these costs could further increase stressors about financially supporting a baby, said Gabriella Archuleta, a public policy analyst with YWCA Utah, which provides services to domestic violence survivors. About 324,000 pregnant women are abused each year in the United States, according to data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Archuleta also noted that this measure doesn’t equitably address the high cost of navigating the legal system and will likely only serve women who are wealthier or have wealthy partners.

“On the surface of it, it sounds like a good idea,” Archuleta said. “But what we’re here to do is look at some of the nuances and how it impacts women, and I don’t think those nuances were really explored to the extent that they should have been.”

___

Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health, AP Business - Personal Finance
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Utah dads to be required to pay half of pregnancy costs
Utah’s governor has signed a law requiring biological fathers to pay half of a woman’s out-of-pocket pregnancy costs
8:47AM ( 2 minutes ago )
Stores in Greece open amid virus surge to help save economy
Retail stores across most of Greece have been allowed to reopen
8:46AM ( 4 minutes ago )
France: Ministers accused of dining at secret restaurants
French authorities are investigating accusations that government ministers and others dined in secret restaurants in violation of pandemic restrictions
8:08AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Corporations gave over $50M to voting restriction backers
Corporations have given more than $50 million in recent years to state lawmakers who have seized on Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen 2020 election to push for new restrictions on the right to vote
6:10AM ( 2 hours ago )
Netanyahu ex-ally nominates himself to be next PM
A former right-wing ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recommended himself as the next prime minister, deepening Israel's political deadlock
5:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
Biden's big infrastructure plan hits McConnell, GOP blockade
Republicans in Congress are making the politically brazen bet that it’s more advantageous to oppose President Joe Biden’s ambitious rebuild America agenda than to lend support
12:07AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Vaccine passports are latest flash point in COVID politics
Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars
3:11PM ( 1 day ago )
Deadly breach could delay decisions about Capitol fencing
The latest deadly breach of the Capitol’s perimeter on Friday could delay the gradual reopening of the building’s grounds to the public just as lawmakers were eyeing a return to more normal security measures after the Jan. 6 riot
3:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Pressure mounts on corporations to denounce GOP voting bills
Liberal activists are stepping up calls on corporate America to denounce Republican efforts to tighten state voting laws
12:58PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Bangkok nightspots may close as virus precaution
Thai health officials are considering the closure of entertainment venues in Bangkok after an outbreak of coronavirus cases in nightspots in and around the capital, and another at a prison in the south
6:50AM ( 2 hours ago )
UK eyes mass testing as it takes next steps out of lockdown
The British government says all adults and children in England will be able to get coronavirus tests twice a week as a way to stamp out new outbreaks
6:27AM ( 2 hours ago )
Asia Today: Philippines extends lockdown as infections spike
The Philippine government has extended a lockdown by another week after an alarming spike in coronavirus infections continued to surge and started to overwhelm many hospitals in the capital and outlying regions
5:54AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
Greece: Stores open amid virus surge to help rescue economy
Retail stores across most of Greece have been allowed to reopen despite an ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections, as the country battles to emerge from deep recession
6:05AM ( 2 hours ago )
Asian markets mixed, US futures up after Wall St hits record
Asian stock markets are mixed and U.S. futures higher after Wall Street hit a record high on optimism the spread of coronavirus vaccines might allow global business to return to normal
4:17AM ( 4 hours ago )
Rescue hampered by distance as more rain falls in Indonesia
Rescuers were being hampered by damaged bridges and roads and a lack of heavy equipment after torrential rains caused multiple disasters on remote eastern Indonesian islands
3:24AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
USC agrees to $852 million payout in sex abuse lawsuit
The University of Southern California has agreed to an $852 million settlement with over 700 women who accused the college’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse
8:52PM ( 1 week ago )
Becerra confirmed to shepherd Biden's ambitious health plans
The Senate has confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as President Joe Biden's health secretary
2:04PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Becerra confirmed to head up Biden's ambitious health agenda
The Senate has confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as President Joe Biden's health secretary
1:10PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Health - Women's health
From child care to COVID, rising job market faces obstacles
A surge in U.S. hiring last month — 916,000 added jobs, the most since August — coincides with growing optimism that a blistering pace of job growth will continue as vaccinations increase and federal aid fuels economic growth
10:31AM ( 1 day ago )
Fire kills 3 in market near Rohingya camp in Bangladesh
Police say a fire has destroyed more than 20 shops in a makeshift market near a Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh, killing at least three people
3:16AM ( 3 days ago )
Beyond bridges: Biden redefines infrastructure to add people
President Joe Biden is preparing to unveil the first phase of what he calls his “Build Back Better” package
8:26PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Business - Personal Finance
Stores in Greece open amid virus surge to help save economy
Retail stores across most of Greece have been allowed to reopen
8:46AM ( 4 minutes ago )
France: Ministers accused of dining at secret restaurants
French authorities are investigating accusations that government ministers and others dined in secret restaurants in violation of pandemic restrictions
8:08AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Turkey detains ex-admirals over statement on straits treaty
Turkish authorities have detained 10 former admirals after more than 100 retired navy officers issued a midnight statement that government officials said evoked Turkey’s history of military coups
8:06AM ( 43 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kyiv faces tighter lockdowns as infections spike
Authorities in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, introduced tighter lockdown restrictions on Monday following a recent spike in coronavirus cases
8:06AM ( 44 minutes ago )
McBride, Trethewey among winners of Anisfeld-Wolf awards
This year's winners of the Anisfeld-Wolf awards include novelist James McBride, former U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey and science fiction great Samuel R
8:01AM ( 48 minutes ago )