Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio, along with other Senate Republicans, have introduced legislation, the Unborn Child Support Act, to give mothers the ability to receive child support payments while they are pregnant.
“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 Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
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.
“We should do everything we can to support American mothers and their children,” said Sen. Rubio. “This bill would allow expecting mothers to prepare and support their babies before they are born.”
The Unborn Child Support Act is one of multiple bills proposed by Republicans aiming to support mothers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
Below are key provisions within Rubio’s Providing for Life Act:
Enable paid parental leave. The legislation includes Rubio’s New Parents Act, a bill that would allow new and newly-adoptive parents to pull forward up to three months of their Social Security benefits to finance paid parental leave. Stay-at-home parents with a sufficient earnings history would also be able to take the funding option and receive resources.
Expand the CTC. Rubio and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) led the charge to double the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2017. In this legislation, Rubio again calls for a significant expansion of the CTC to allow parents to keep more of their hard-earned money to cover the costs of raising children. Under the expanded CTC:
- Parents would receive a credit of up to $3,500 per child, and $4,500 per child for children under the age of 6;
- The expanded CTC would maintain current phase-out thresholds of $200,000 for single filers and $400,000 for married filers filing jointly;
- Parents could claim the credit for their unborn children;
- The refundable portion of the credit would phase in at a rate of 15.3%, beginning with the first dollar of income earned, to reflect combined employee and employer payroll tax liability; and
- The SALT deduction would be eliminated to help pay for the expanded credit.
Provide additional funding, with reforms, to the WIC program. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides grants to states for supplemental foods, social service referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant and postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to the age of five. In FY21, 6.2 million women and children participated in the program. Rubio’s legislation includes a number of reforms to the WIC program, including:
- Extending the postpartum benefit eligibility period from one to two years;
- Extending expanded cash-value voucher benefits, adjusted for inflation;
- Requiring the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to update the supplemental foods review every five years, rather than the current 10 years; and
- Requiring that state and local agencies provide to individuals applying for the program information about establishing CSE orders and referral to such programs or agencies authorized to determine eligibility for CSE.