Proposed bill aims to have fathers pay half of pregnancy medical costs

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A proposed bill would allow Louisiana mothers to recover half of their out-of-pocket pregnancy medical expenses from the baby’s father.

HB 5 by Rep. Larry Frieman, R-Abita Springs, allows a mother to take action through the courts to get the father of the child to pay 50% of the out-of-pocket expenses for pregnancy-related medical costs.

Rep. Frieman said it is not fair only for women to pay all the expenses. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Louisiana having a near-total ban on abortion, Frieman said his bill will be a benefit to women around the state. He is bringing the bill after he found Louisiana does not have ways to recover medical expenses related to pregnancy.

A paternity test would have to be performed on the child to prove who the father is in order to receive the court order. The action can be taken up until two years after birth and could apply during the pregnancy. Utah also has a similar bill that was passed in 2021.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2022, the prenatal, childbirth, and post-partum medical costs are estimated at around $18,000 without insurance. Out-of-pocket for those enrolled in large group insurance plans is around $3,000.

Frieman said this is not child support, but rather brings “fundamental fairness” to covering the cost of pregnancy. The bill will be debated during the regular session that begins on April 10th.