Cramer: One simple way Congress can support women and unborn children
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., writes, "Pro-abortion activists often quip that pro-life supporters only care about the unborn child. This is fundamentally untrue. We believe each and every life is
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade is one of the most consequential court decisions of my lifetime. Countless lives are saved by this decision and society is a much better place for it. When new souls are born, new ideas, dreams and purpose come alive, which enlightens and enlivens our world.
Pro-abortion activists often quip that pro-life supporters only care about the unborn child. This is fundamentally untrue. We believe each and every life is sacred. Therefore, we must particularly emphasize compassion and support for new mothers, unborn children and families.
To help achieve this mission, I introduced the Unborn Child Support Act in July to provide assistance for children long before they are delivered. Maximum care must begin at the first moment of life: conception. My bill empowers mothers by giving them the choice to receive child support payments as early as the first month of their pregnancy.
Though I believe fatherhood is both a blessing and obligation and that fathers bear responsibility for the child they helped create, I also recognize that child support is not the solution for every situation. That’s why the Unborn Child Support Act protects mothers who do not wish to seek financial compensation from the father by exempting them from a paternity test if it would put the mother or child at risk.
However, if the mother reconsiders, the courts are required to issue a paternity test and retroactively award child support payments, starting from conception. Child support payment eligibility, which requires confirmation of the father’s identity, remains the same. The best interest of the mother and child are always paramount.
These ideas are not new – I introduced this same legislation during Congress’s last term. But with the advent of Dobbs v. Jackson and its overturning of Roe v. Wade, there is an even greater opportunity to protect life in this country.
Public polling proves most Americans want to take advantage of this opportunity. According to the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy, there is widespread, bipartisan support for child support payments that begin at conception. Nearly half the respondents were in favor of child support payments beginning at conception (47%), including 53% of Democrats, and 49% of those who described themselves as pro-choice.
It seems this is one issue on which both sides of the political aisle can agree. Take, for example, a tweet from liberal actor and activist Ken Olin published in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. "In states where abortion is illegal, the father should be financially on the hook at the moment of conception," he wrote. While I reject the notion that a father’s financial obligations should be limited only to certain states, Olin’s sentiments reflect a basic consensus: mothers and their children should be supported by the father.
In this age of polarization, the Unborn Child Support Act is something all Americans should rally behind. It is a vital step toward ensuring mothers and children are well cared for and fathers embrace the responsibility of bringing life into the world.
Cramer, R-N.D., serves in the U.S. House of Representatives.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.