Illinois Bill Would Make Life Even Harder for a Lot of Single Mothers and Their Children

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judge-in-court-with-gavelApparently life is not challenging enough for single mothers and their children in Illinois, so two lawmakers have filed a bill that would make life even more difficult.

According to Chicagoist, the new legislation specifies that a father must be listed on a child’s birth certificate, or no birth certificate would be issued. Without a birth certificate, a child cannot receive financial assistance from the state. (Also, good luck with all the other documentation a U.S. citizen needs in later life.) In the absence of a father, some other relative must sign on to be financially responsible for the child, or no birth certificate would be issued.

According to the bill:

“Provides that if the unmarried mother cannot or refuses to name the child’s father, either a father must be conclusively established by DNA evidence or, within 30 days after birth, another family member who will financially provide for the child must be named, in court, on the birth certificate. Provides that absent DNA evidence or a family member’s name, a birth certificate will not be issued and the mother will be ineligible for financial aid from the State for support of the child. Provides an exception for artificially inseminated mothers. Amends the Illinois Public Aid Code. Provides that a family that does not comply with the Vital Records Act provision concerning birth certificates of unmarried mothers shall be ineligible for aid for support of the child. Effective immediately.”

The idea that it could be legal for Illinois to refuse to give a child a birth certificate is astounding. This obviously has terrible repercussions for rape victims, or unmarried women who maybe had multiple sexual partners. (Oh, the pearls I am not clutching right now.)

The bill was sponsored by John Cavaletto and Keith R. Wheeler, who appear to think that having a baby without knowing the father’s identity is a crime worthy of having one’s whole family go hungry.

“This is a punitive and outrageous bill that would have a hugely negative impact on those most likely in need of safety net programs and support,” said Ed Yohnka of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union to Chicagoist.

This whole thing is appalling and clearly designed to shame unwed mothers and punish their completely innocent babies.