A Louisiana bill advancing through the state legislature compliments laws that protect unborn babies from abortion by requiring fathers to help pay pregnancy-related medical expenses.
State Rep. Larry Frieman, R-Abita Springs, said he sponsored House Bill 5 to help pregnant women who are struggling financially and do not have the support of their baby’s father, according to 4WWL TV.
“I think this is a very good bill to really help the pregnant women in our state who have no way to recover these medical expenses,” Frieman said.
Louisiana protects unborn babies by banning elective abortions, and the bill would add to the resources available to help pregnant and parenting mothers. It amends the state child support law to allow women to request half of the out-of-pocket medical expenses for their pregnancy from their child’s biological father, provided paternity has been proven, within two years of the child’s birth.
Frieman also expressed support for amendments to the bill to include women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths, according to the report.
The state House passed the bill with unanimous support on April 24, and a Senate committee voted to advance it Tuesday.
The legislation has received widespread support from organizations that help women and families in need, including pro-life groups and non-profits that serve victims of sexual abuse, the report continues.
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Here’s more from the report:
Morgan Lamandre, the president and chief executive of Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, a nonprofit serving sexual violence survivors, raised concerns earlier in the session about the bill, and Frieman has worked to address them.
Frieman’s bill currently gives women a two-year window to recuperate the costs, but he is planning to amend it to make it a two-year period to prove paternity. This, Lamandre said, would give women more time to take advantage of the law, especially if they are on long payment plans for their hospital visit.
Other states, including Utah and Georgia, already have laws that require biological fathers to pay child support and/or pregnancy-related expenses prior to their child’s birth. Oklahoma is considering similar legislation this year, and, last fall, U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, introduced legislation to require child support for unborn babies nation-wide.
All states require biological fathers to pay child support, but these new legislative initiatives require specific costs to be covered before the baby is born. Many hope the assurance of support will help mothers who are struggling financially choose life for their babies.
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