Claims allowing women to seek child support aims to “take control over women”

This article was originally published by Daniel Gump on his Substack on May 26, 2024 and is reprinted here with permission.

Kansas currently lags behind every other state in the area of prenatal child support. All other states and territories either offer some form of retroactive or immediate support — and many have for decades or even centuries.

Kansas law only sits on the periphery of the entire subject, determining unfitness of the father if he did not offer support during the second and third trimesters of the mother’s pregnancy (1) and only allowing him to prevent the child from being adopted out after birth if he can prove that he provided support (2).

On April 30, 2024, the Kansas Legislature passed SB 232 on prenatal child support (3). The entire bill came to just under two pages (plus the ratification page), so it is a quick read.

Section 1 amends K.S.A. 20-165 to include “the direct medical and pregnancy-related expenses of the mother” in child support requirements, excluding costs of an “elective abortion.”

Section 2 amends K.S.A. 23-2205 to establish the parent-child relationship for purposes of child support.

Section 3 amends K.S.A. 23-3001 so “the court shall make provisions for the support and education of the minor children” and to define the term “unborn child” for purposes of child support.

Section 4 repeals previous versions of each section amended.

On the ratification page, Section 5 states that the amendments will take immediate effect upon publication.

In a written statement, Democratic Governor Laura Kelly claimed the bill aims to “take control over women” and that it is “a blatant attempt” to control family’s private medical decisions. She went on to assert that it is at odds with the will of the people to affirm abortion rights in the state and vetoed it on May 10th — right before Mother’s Day weekend (4).

These statements are all factually incorrect, as it would be the pregnant women who would pursue prenatal child support under their own free will. Additionally, the only point when the bill even mentions induced abortions is in regard to prenatal child support not covering them.

The Kansas Legislature is currently out of session but could pursue overriding the governor’s veto, as the Republican supermajority has several times in recent years for other legislation.

References:

  1. Kansas Statutes §38-2271, “Presumption of unfitness, when; burden of proof.” (Kansas 2006)
  2. Kansas Statutes §59-2135, “Relinquishment and adoption; proceedings to terminate parental rights.” (Kansas 2006)
  3. Senate Bill 232. (Kansas 2024)
  4. Hanna, John. “Kansas’ governor vetoes a bill for extending child support to fetuses,” The Associated Press. May 10, 2024. Accessed May 26, 2024. 

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

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Daniel uses his background in technical writing to interpret and summarize source materials in ways he hopes will allow others to concisely see the truth.‬

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.