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House committee amends pregnancy child support bill

By Violet Comber-Wilen, IPB News | Published on in Family Issues, Government, Health, Politics
As challenges to Indiana’s abortion ban continue, some lawmakers are trying to increase supports for pregnant people. (FILE PHOTO: Rachel Morello/StateImpact)

As challenges to Indiana’s abortion ban continue, some lawmakers are trying to increase supports for pregnant people. An amended version of HB 1009 passed out of a House committee Wednesday, and allowed courts to order fathers to pay for more expenses than before.

Currently, Indiana law let courts make fathers pay half of prenatal and postnatal care, delivery and hospitalization.

The bill initially attempted to allow pregnant people to collect child support beginning at conception. However, the new version of the bill got rid of that provision and changed the language to increase court orders to allow fathers to pay for “other necessary expenses” and “postpartum expenses.”

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Lawmakers say other necessary expenses may include car seats, diapers and nursing supplies – or anything needed after leaving the hospital.

Postpartum expenses will likely include any medical issues or hormonal risks occurring during pregnancy or after birth.

Law experts say these changes may bring legal trouble, though.

For example, some legal experts say the language is too vague – words like “postpartum” may be difficult to peg on certain medical issues, which will leave legal fights to determine whether issues were predestined to occur, or if they were a cause of pregnancy.

Additionally, child support expenses are expected to be paid on a 50-50 split, regardless of income. Some legal experts say this could cause legal fights in the future.

The bill passed unanimously and moves to the full House.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.