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Bill to expand court-ordered childbirth expenses advances, though changes could be in store

The northeast exterior of the Indiana Statehouse. Centered in the photo is the Statehouse's green dome.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
Fathers could be ordered by Indiana courts to pay for more expenses related to childbirth than before under legislation headed to the Senate.

Fathers could be ordered by Indiana courts to pay for more expenses related to childbirth than before under legislation headed to the Senate.

And after committee passage, there might be changes ahead for the bill.

Right now, biological fathers can be ordered to pay 50 percent of the costs of prenatal care, delivery and hospitalization, and postnatal care. Rep. Elizabeth Rowray’s (R-Yorktown) bill, HB 1009, would add other expenses related to delivery and postpartum needs, such as a crib, clothing and changing pads.

She stressed that the expenses must be reasonable.

“If you go out and buy a new car and say it’s the safest vehicle to get your child home, that’s probably not going to fly underneath this code,” Rowray said.

READ MORE: House committee amends pregnancy child support bill

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No one voted against the bill, but some senators, like Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), expressed discomfort at forcing fathers to pay 50 percent of a wider range of expenses.

“But when they don’t have any say, per se, in what crib is bought – the $1,000 crib or the $500 crib – that is where I start to have some challenges,” Freeman said.

Freeman indicated he might try to amend the bill to reflect his concerns.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.