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Lankford Introduces Legislation to Allow Pregnant Mothers to Receive Child Support

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), along with Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA), introduced the Unborn Child Support Act to give mothers the ability to receive child support payments while they are pregnant.

“Moms start loving and caring for their children at conception. Dads need to step up to do the same. Oklahoma and other states have rightly stood for life while taking steps to support pregnant moms and families. Our bill helps moms in every state have access to child support from the beginning of their children’s lives, not just after they are born,” said Lankford.

“Caring for the well-being of our children begins long before a baby is born. It begins at the first moment of life – conception – and fathers have obligations, financial and otherwise, during pregnancy. Mothers should be able to access child support payments as soon as she is supporting a child. Our bill makes this possible,” said Cramer. 

“Life begins at conception, and this bill is a straightforward first step towards updating our federal laws to reflect that fact. We are hopeful that Democrats will join this bicameral effort to provide mothers with child support payments while their child is in the womb,” said Johnson. 

The Unborn Child Support Act allows a court, in consultation with the mother, to award child support payments while the child is still in the womb and retroactively up to the point of conception as determined by a physician. It also:

  • Provides flexibility for mothers who do not want involvement of the father by not requiring those mothers to receive child support.
  • Requires judges to consult with mothers on payment plans and gives mothers discretion as to whether or not child support payments will be awarded retroactively.
  • Mandates that all paternity tests be at the discretion of the mother and not be conducted if the test would put the child at risk. 

Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) co-sponsored this legislation. 

A recent poll from the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy shows popular support for child support payments to begin at conception.  

The Unborn Child Support Act is supported by the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America.