Bill Requiring Fathers to Pay 50% Advances on Pregnancy Costs Through Utah House Committee

The sponsor of the bill says he is proposing it as a “pro-life” measure to increase the accountability of men who give birth.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Representative Brady Brammer, R-Highland, wears a mask as members of the House of Representatives are separated by plexiglass at the start of the 2021 legislative session at the Capitol in Salt Lake City , Jan. 19, 2021. Brammer is sponsoring a bill that would require a man to bear 50% of the medical bills for a pregnancy while he was the father.

A biological father could be responsible for paying half of the pregnancy costs for the woman carrying her unborn child under a new bill that was passed by a House committee on Wednesday.

HB113, sponsored by Representative Brady Brammer, would apply to a pregnant mother’s health insurance premiums and all pregnancy-related medical costs, from conception to birth, as part of an effort to to increase “the responsibility of men in the advent of life in the world. “

“A lot of times there’s this battle between pro-life and pro-choice where some of the pro-life positions really turn into a perception that it’s just anti-abortion,” Brammer, R- said on Wednesday. Highland, to the House Judiciary Committee. “I’m kind of fed up with these things and thought what could we do that is really a pro-life thing?” … And so that’s where this bill comes from.

The bill would not force a father to pay the costs associated with an abortion suffered without his consent, unless the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or abuse. incest.

The proposal also states that a father would not be responsible for the costs associated with the pregnancy if paternity was involved – until he was established as a father. Subsequently, he could be required by a judge to pay his share of the expenses as verified by receipts. This means that in most cases the payment is unlikely to be collected in real time and would likely come after the birth, Brammer said.

Representative Lowry Snow, R-St. George, said he supported the proposal but feared it would be “intimidating enough” for some women to go through the court system in order to collect payment.

“My heart goes out to those women who find themselves in this situation, who don’t have that support and that help and who have the expenses and maybe not the ability to cover them and the thought of having to sue someone for recovering is intimidating, “he said.” However, having said that, I think it’s a really important step in the right direction. “

Although Brammer said his bill would not address the challenges women may face in the legal system, he noted that there are legal clinics, shelters and pro bono nonprofit groups that could help them through this process.

The law project got an 8-1 vote on Wednesday with Representative Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, as the sole dissenter.

King said he believed there had to be a “higher level of cultural expectation, responsibility and personal responsibility for men who quickly spill their seed and don’t think they should be responsible for the consequences.” .

But he was concerned that the bill would financially tie women to violent partners and said he wanted to learn more about the issue before voting to move it forward.

The legislation “not only establishes the right of a single mother to get 50% of the charges – it establishes the obligation of the biological father to pay them,” King said. “And I’m afraid that an unscrupulous and abusive man might say, ‘Hey, I have this duty. You can’t escape me. You may not want to get it back, but I have to be bound to you in a way you don’t want because I have to do my duty.

Brammer said he didn’t think it was a “bad thing” for men to be responsible for paying half of medical bills, but said his bill was not intended to allow them to use this duty. to exercise control over a mother. And he added that he didn’t think a father would have the right to go through the court system to make such a claim.

The bill now goes to the plenary chamber for further consideration.

About Wesley V. Finley

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