Public Outcry Leads to Tabling of Bill Concerning Single Mothers
Recently, a new Bill that would have amended the Vital Records Act, sponsored by Representatives John D. Cavaletto and Keith Wheeler, was filed in Springfield, Illinois. If passed, the new law would have placed significant restrictions on a single mother’s ability to obtain financial assistance from the government if she could not establish the paternity of her child at the time of his or her birth. However, resulting public outcry led to the hasty tabling of the Bill and the loss of support from both sponsors.
While support has been withdrawn for the time being, the Bill's introduction still raises concerns about the future of public assistance for single mothers in Illinois.
House Bill 6064
According to the Bill, if an unmarried mother cannot or chooses not to name her newborn child’s father at the time of the birth, either:
- A father’s paternity would need to be determined by DNA evidence; or
- A different family member who agrees to financially provide for the child would have to be named within 30 days of the birth, both in Court and on the birth certificate.
In the event that neither condition is met, a birth certificate would not be issued for the child. Furthermore, the child’s mother would be considered ineligible to receive financial aid for the infant’s support.
The single exception to the new rules laid out in the Bill would apply to women who have undergone in vitro fertilization. In situations where a mother, who was artificially inseminated, wishes to raise the child as a single parent, she would be able to obtain a birth certificate with only her name on the document. However, in order to do so, the woman would be required to sign a release stating that she waives any rights to financial aid intended for the support of the child provided by the state. Notably absent was any exception for situations where the birth was the result of rape or incest.
After the public outcry that was raised following the introduction of House bill 6064, both representatives withdrew their support and, soon after, submitted a motion to table the Bill. Representative Wheeler was recorded as stating that the intent of the Bill was to provide long-term support to single mothers by increasing the legal responsibilities of fathers, while also expanding the rights of other family members who may end up providing for the child. He also admitted, however, that the Bill had significant flaws that would produce unintended consequences.
Receiving public assistance can be crucial to a parent’s and child’s financial stability. If you have any questions about how establishing paternity will affect your ability to receive child support or financial aid, please contact Palatine family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson for a free consultation.