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Lankford Moves to Make Child Support Available to Pregnant Moms

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA), and their colleagues to introduce the Unborn Child Support Act, which gives moms the option to receive child support payments from the moment of their child’s conception.

“Now that decisions regarding how to protect life were returned to the people’s elected representatives through the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Oklahoma and other states have rightly stood for life and made all elective abortions illegal while also taking steps to support pregnant moms and families. Dads need to step up and provide for their kids. Period. Our bill helps moms in every state have access to child support throughout the entirety 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. 

Joining Lankford, Cramer, and Johnson are Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), 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).

“Parents know that the cost of raising a child begins long before birth, and fathers need to take responsibility,“ said Daines.

“I am proud to join Sen. Cramer in introducing the Unborn Child Support Act and standing true to what being pro-life means: protecting life beginning at conception,” said Inhofe. “Mothers should have the option to receive court-ordered child support well before the time of birth and this bill is a first step towards getting them and their unborn children the support they deserve.”

“I hope good legislation, like the Unborn Child Support Act, gets more support now that the Dobbs decision encourages us to look more seriously at supporting mothers and their unborn children,” said Hyde-Smith. “This legislation would help ensure women have opportunities to receive child support payments from the earlier days of their pregnancy.”

“During pregnancy, women take on the responsibility to protect another human life, and it’s important that she is supported in all aspects,” said Blackburn. “This legislation will help ensure an expectant mother has access to the financial resources she needs to care for herself and her unborn child.” 

“No mom should have to worry about carrying the responsibility of caring for their child alone. Support for a child should start at the moment of conception, when life truly begins. This good bill makes sure that federal law reflects this important principle,” said Scott.

A recent poll from the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy shows popular support for child support payments to begin at conception. Lankford’s bill allows a court, in consultation with moms, to award child support payments retroactively from the point of conception as determined by a doctor. It also provides flexibility for moms who do not want involvement of the dad by not requiring moms to receive child support. The bill requires judges to consult with moms on payment plans and gives moms discretion as to whether or not child support payments will be awarded retroactively. The bill mandates that all paternity tests be at the discretion of the mom and not be conducted if the test would put the child at risk.

The bill is supported by the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, March for Life, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.