Oklahoma State Rep. Anastasia Pittman: Make Fathers Accountable Earlier

Article excerpt

For state Rep. Anastasia Pittman, co-parenting should begin in the womb.

And she said she is looking at ways to alter the state's child protection statutes so they can be expanded to provide paternal support for infants in utero.

"Oklahoma law defines an unborn child as a human from fertilization until birth," Pittman, an Oklahoma City Democrat, said. "Our law also makes anyone who injures an unborn child knowingly to be guilty of a felony. Given those precedents, it seems only logical that we would expect some degree of paternal responsibility and aid from the moment of conception."

Pittman said for many women the first nine months of their unintended and out-of-wedlock pregnancies have become the shared responsibility of the mother and government.

"It is only after the child is born that the state ramps up efforts to establish paternity and initiate child support collections," she said. "We looked at how we can ensure shared parenting takes place from the moment an unborn child is created. …