Under the bill, a mother must sue the father before the child turns two, and only if the child’s paternity is proven by “clear and convincing evidence.”
“This bill is really about fundamental fairness,” defense attorney Freeman told The Associated Press. “It’s not fair that a woman has to pay all the medical bills for her pregnancy, and there is no law in Louisiana that allows her to recover.”
According to a 2022 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, medical costs associated with pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care total $18,865 on average. However, the average out-of-pocket costs for women enrolled in large group plans total $2,854. These costs do not include health insurance premiums or amounts spent on additional claims from out-of-network providers.
Another Louisiana Republican politician proposed a similar bill nationwide last year.
U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson introduced the Fetal Support Act, which allows expectant mothers to collect child support from the moment of conception. The bill never made it to the House for consideration, but Johnson plans to reintroduce it in Congress now.
In 2021, Utah will become the first state to mandate prenatal child support. At the time, several other states, including Wisconsin and New York, had provisions allowing fathers to cover prenatal costs.
Proponents of a Utah law requiring fathers to pay half of a woman’s out-of-pocket pregnancy costs presented the law as an effort to reduce the burden of pregnancy on women and increase the responsibility of men with children. When the law was proposed, critics argued it would not help the most vulnerable women and could make abusive situations even more dangerous for pregnant women.