BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The state legislature is working on bills that would impact parents. One seeks to help pregnant women with their medical costs and another clears up the law to better protect survivors of assault.
After Louisiana put in place its near-total ban on abortion, one Republican lawmaker wants to help pregnant people get help with their medical bills. HB5 would allow them to seek out-of-pocket expenses to be paid for by the other biological parent of the child.
“In light of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which was a good thing in my opinion, we now have to start looking to protect mothers and give them more rights,” said State Rep. Larry Frieman, R-Abita Springs.
Those seeking the money would have two years after birth and have to prove the paternity of the other person. This would not apply to costs that have been covered by Medicaid or insurance. A judge would determine any other “reasonable” costs that could be covered by the other parent.
Another bill by Rep. Jason Hughes looks to clarify the right to terminate parental rights of rapists. State and federal law already allows for a survivor to request termination of a child conceived through rape, but current law can allow rapists to still have parental rights even if the rape were proven. HB298 would make clear if the child is a result of rape, the parental rights should be terminated for the best interests of the child.
“For survivors that do become pregnant as a result of rape and do not want to place their child for adoption or even if they do that, they are not being forced to co-parent with their rapist,” said Morgan Lamandre, CEO of Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response.
Solicitor General Liz Murrill testified that this bill also shifts the presumption of abuse off the mother so she isn’t retraumatized in the courts during these proceedings.
Both bills advance without any objection and now head to the full House for more debate.