A new law in Utah recently signed by Republican Governor Spencer Cox is a life step in the right direction. The bill known as HB 113 will come into effect early next month. It requires birth fathers to pay half a woman’s medical expenses during pregnancy. These costs range from clinic visits and hospital costs to insurance premiums. It is long past that this “prenatal child support” was required by law for men.
There are currently only two licensed abortion clinics in the state of Utah. Before having an abortion in the state, a woman must complete an educational module before a 72-hour waiting period begins. In addition, parental consent is required by law for anyone under the age of 18. There are already safeguards in place that will keep a woman fully informed of the severity of such a decision and, hopefully, enough time to change her mind.
The ideal situation is a world where abortion would never be considered. This is not, and never will be, reality. Some women really believe that they cannot continue an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Others face extreme family pressures or feel too burdened by the financial burden. The mission of the Pro-Life movement is to lovingly encourage these women to choose life.
The goal should also be to connect them to resources that can ease the load. The decision point of whether to continue a pregnancy is obviously life changing for both mother and baby. But there is so much more to it than the decision to end a pregnancy. Once abortion is off the table, there is the reality of pregnancy that is physically and financially exhausting. This is why HB 113 is so important.
Biological fathers are just as responsible for their children as mothers. Unfortunately, once pregnancy is discovered (or resumed), women are sometimes abandoned and incur all of the costs associated with living in the world. This behavior contradicts basic human decency. When fathers are held legally accountable after the birth of a child, it only makes sense to apply the same standards to the prenatal period. The antenatal child support is a useful tool to hold both parties accountable. And if there is a question about paternity, the law requires it to be determined before the father has to pay. This protects against potential abuse.
Republican MP Brady Brammer, who sponsored the bill, said, “We want to help people and actually be pro-life like we do, as opposed to fighting abortion. One way we can help with that is by lifting the burden carry pregnancy will be reduced. “
This mentality is not only refreshing, but is badly needed by pro-life politicians at the state and national levels. It is not enough to be against abortion. This is understood as a conservative core position. However, being pro-life is not just a moment in time. Without specific help, support, and resources, a pregnant woman can easily feel overwhelmed by her situation. Reducing the financial burden of obliging fathers to pay half promotes a culture of living.
The left often only paints the pro-life movement as anti-abortion. While this news is not true, it can work in a world where too many take pride in promoting abortion as a routine part of women’s health. Fighting this campaign and realizing that pro-life goes well beyond a determination to keep a baby is paramount.
Utah’s Prenatal Child Allowance Act prevents men from neglecting their responsibilities as fathers long before a child enters the world. Support for a woman during pregnancy should begin long before delivery. The bill is also a reminder that the pro-life thing is more than just anti-abortion. By having the father pay his part, it can help the mother feel less financial pressure during a difficult time. And if she benefits from it, so does the baby.
Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is the author of the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog and a columnist for Arc Digital.