Low Income Mothers Could Face Penalties For Giving Birth While On Welfare
Pennsylvania bill would slash assistance, unless women proved they were raped.
Life may just get a little tougher for "welfare moms."
A Pennsylvania bill proposed on October 17 would allow the state to cut back government assistance from low income mothers who have more children while currently on welfare.
The bill was brought forth by lawmakers Rose Marie Swanger (R), Tom Caltagirone (D), Mark Gillen (R), Keith Gillespie (R), Adam Harris (R), and Mike Tobash (R).
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If the mother wants to receive assistance for her newborn, she would have to prove that the baby was conceived from a rape.
The bill reads:
Elimination of benefits under subsection (d) shall not apply to any child conceived as a result of rape or incest if the department: (1) receives a non-notarized, signed statement from the pregnant woman stating that she was a victim of rape or incest, as the case may be, and that she reported the crime, including the identity of the offender, if known, to a law enforcement agency having the requisite jurisdiction or, in the case of incest where a pregnant minor is the victim, to the county child protective service agency and stating the name of the law enforcement agency or child protective service agency to which the report was made and the date such report was made.
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ThinkProgress.org worries that such a bill will make it even more difficult for women to legitimize their rape claims.
"Forcing women to prove the legitimacy of their sexual assault, and warning them about the serious consequences of 'crying rape' to cheat the system, puts forth the misguided assumption that victims of sexual violence are not to be believed," the organization wrote in a statement.