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Illinois Republicans Sponsor a Bill That Denies Birth Certificates to the Children of Single Mothers

They wouldn't even be able to get a Social Security number.

Photo via (cc) Flicker user Mary Ellen Bleeden

A law proposed in the Illinois House of Representatives isn’t just another run-of-the-mill right-wing attack on women. This time legislators have gone a step further and taken aim at children, too. Illinois state Representatives John D. Cavaletto and Keith Wheeler have co-sponsored HB6064, which would deny birth certificates to the children of single mothers who fail to name a father or financially responsible caregiver.

Snippet from 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.”

The birth certificate is a legal document that proves U.S. citizenship. Without a birth certificate, a child cannot attend school, receive government financial assistance, get a passport, driver’s license, or even a Social Security number. At a deeper level, the law is a racist and classist attempt to make single mothers and their children ineligible for state benefits. “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,” Ed Yohnka from the Illinois ACLU told Chicagoist.

Even more disturbing is that the bill provides no exclusions for women who’ve been victims of rape or incest. It also punishes women who are attempting to escape domestic abusers by forcing them into a legal relationship with their attackers. The alarming bill is more than troublesome, but its chances of passing are slim being that the Illinois House of Representatives has a Democratic supermajority.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on this bill with the state representatives sponsoring it, links are provided below.

Contact John D. Cavaletto.

Contact Keith Wheeler.

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