A Republican-backed bill in the state of Illinois would ban the issuing of birth certificates to children without a listed father.
The legislation, submitted by Republicans John Cavaletto and Keith Wheeler, takes the unprecedented step of refusing to recognise that a child has actually been born, unless they have two biological parents listed.
The proposals could be potentially devastating in cases where paternity is unknown, or a child is born in any other ‘non-traditional’ setting.
It is unclear how much of a chilling effect it could have on human rights – given it would be effectively creating a class of ‘un-persons’ who aren’t officially even alive, which is legally unprecedented.
The bill states: “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.
“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.”
It adds: “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 bill makes exceptions for some children born to single mothers by IVF – but only if they waive all benefit entitlements.
It says: “If an artificially inseminated mother wishes to raise the child on her own, she may obtain a birth certificate for the child with only her name on the birth certificate if she signs a release stating that she waives her rights to any financial aid provided under the Illinois Public Aid Code for the support of the child”.