Biological fathers in Utah will be legally required to pay half of the “out-of-pocket” pregnancy costs for their child’s mother under a new state law.
Critics argue that the bill won’t help women and some say it could make abusive situations even more dangerous for pregnant women.
With this bill, Utah becomes the first state to mandate prenatal child support.
Wisconsin and New York have provisions that can result in biological fathers being held financially responsible for the mother’s pre-birth expenses.
The proposal was signed by Utah Governor Spencer Cox and had widespread support in the state legislature.
Representative Brady Brammer said he sponsored the bill after frustration with anti-abortion measures.
“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.”
According to Brammer, the costs would include the mother’s health insurance premiums and any pregnancy-related medical costs.
If the paternity is questioned, fathers will not be held financially responsible until paternity is confirmed.
Fathers also wouldn’t be financially responsible for the cost of abortion received without their consent unless medically necessary or if the pregnancy resulted from rape.
While the bill’s purpose is not to lower the frequency of abortions, Brammer said that could be a potential outcome, the Associated Press reported.