Untitled by Unsplash (Pixabay). CC license.

Untitled by Unsplash (Pixabay). CC license.

The villainization of rape victims and single mothers continues with Illinois’s proposed bill HB6064. As conservatives continue to push anti-abortion legislation on one side, telling women that they are morally deficient for choosing one, but punishing single mothers who keep the children with this bill, the struggle for single mothers gets worse. It should come as no surprised that this bill has been fathered – errr, sponsored – by two rich, white men: John D. Cavaletto and Keith Wheeler.

Related: How My Abortion Made Me a Better Person

HB6064 “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. 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.”

While some might argue that this is supposedly for the benefit of the child, what about those women who have been raped and are afraid of naming their attackers? The bill is willfully twisted to suggest that this is a way of ensuring that the fathers can be found for child support. I don’t know a struggling single mother out there that would not do everything within their means to guarantee child support from the father of their child, but this is simply not the way to do it. This is yet another way to shame women into “behaving.”

Related: De-Program Yourself From Slut Shaming

HB6064 affects all women. For example, say I had a one night stand – oy, you can say that QUITE A FEW TIMES, if you get my drift… There have been a couple of times where after a few drinks and a night of flirting, last names were simply not a priority. I may have wanted to see that person again, I may not have, but that choice was not always mine to make. Several weeks later, as my period is a couple of days late, I play the “what if game” and wonder if I should have an abortion or have Mr. I’ll Call You’s baby.

Pregnancy. CC license, Pixabay - no credit provided.

Pregnancy. CC license, Pixabay – no credit provided.

The same portion of the government that would demonize me for having an abortion would be punishing me (and my theoretical child) for not being able to track down the father if I had it.

This is not the only instance in which the State of Illinois has recently acted against single moms. Republican State Rep Jeanne Ives uses coded language to speak about a bill that was killed several months ago in Illinois which offered government assistance for providing childcare to single, working mothers who are actively trying to dig themselves out of poverty.

“You need to have verifiable need. You better know who the ‘daddy’ is and whether or not he can afford that child and whether or not the taxpayers should be funding that or if there’s actual child support he can provide.” Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-42nd)

Ives’s thinly veiled reference to the phrase “baby daddy” did not go unnoticed, even if one cannot prove that it was the intended use, just as the replacement of the n-word with “thug” is constantly done by “respectable” folks. Chuck Jones, a political commentator, says “Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives is using clearly understandable bigot code. The word “Daddy” for instance. Her drive for verification is a standard bigot tool for access to voting, [civil] rights, etc. Yes, single white women would also be affected if what she gets what she wants, but she is talking to bigots in special bigot speak.”

Two separate bills, one obvious common issue: they’re both there to punish single moms.

Okay, Republican lawmakers. What’s it going to be? You can’t demand both from women. We’re either villainized for having an abortion or treated as stupid and condemned to poverty if we do carry the pregnancy to term. When you treat women as second-class citizens and punish their children for the acts of the mothers which you do not morally support, you continue to push people further into poverty and into acts of desperation simply to support themselves. What happens if the mother simply puts down a mans’ name as the father and the DNA test comes back negative? It’s time to stop placing moral demands on women simply because it’s a behavior that one might disagree with. It’s time to simply take care of our fellow citizens for the sake of building a society that is lifted up by the government instead of constantly being pushed back down.

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