By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes reinforces the important role fathers play in child welfare with the introduction of Bill 293-36, also known as the Pregnancy Support Act of 2022.
The Pregnancy Support Act of 2022 would allow 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 sixth week of gestational age.
The bill was introduced amid the resurrection of the abortion debate on Guam with the introduction of Sen. Telena Nelson's “Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022,” which would prohibit doctors from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The bill would further require expectant fathers to share the costs of pregnancy expenses. If paternity is disputed, child support payments and shared costs of pregnancy expenses would be paid retroactively once paternity is established.
“The health of the mother is essential to a successful pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby. By ensuring fathers take responsibility for the life they helped create, the Pregnancy Support Act of 2022 helps expectant mothers throughout pregnancy,” Muña Barnes said.
“If we as a community decide that a woman must carry a baby to term, we need to have their back. That means ensuring that men step up and pay their fair share.”