When we think of child support, we probably think most often of single moms raising kids who are getting money from their ex-husbands to help pay the bills and take care of the children. Just a day after Republicans attacked CNN contributor Hilary Rosen for her comments about Ann Romney, an Iowa Republican proposed an amendment to a bill that would allow those who pay child support to force the recipients of that support to take a drug test as frequently as every six months.
According to The Des Moines Register, Republican Senator Mark Chelgren proposed the amendment because he talked to a male constituent who wanted to force his ex-wife to take a drug test because he believes she was using child support money to buy drugs.
Chelgren withdrew his proposal after Democrats openly laughed at him in the Senate chamber. Democratic Senator Jack Hatch said that the bill was anti-women and “could unfairly be used by vindictive spouses. He further expressed concerns that the proposal would clog the court system.” When Hatch says ‘vindictive spouses,’ I think of Illinois Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh, who currently owes his ex-wife over $100,000 in unpaid child support. I’m certain that Walsh would absolutely be overjoyed if a similar proposal could be brought up and passed in Illinois.
Senator Hatch was right to believe that Chelgren’s proposal was anti-women. According to the US Census Bureau, women are more likely than men to be the primary custodian of children and are more likely to receive child support. This isn’t to say that men don’t get child support. They do. But the numbers are not nearly as high. In 1992, there were 11.5 million custodial parents in the United States. 9.9 million were women, while only 1.6 million were men. Of these numbers, 4.9 million women were awarded child support compared to only 400,000 men. In other words, if Chelgren’s proposal became law, it would overwhelmingly target single mothers, the same mothers the Republican Party claimed to support yesterday by attacking Rosen’s comments in an attempt to divert attention away from their war on women. Leave it to the Republicans to claim they support women while at the same time they allow one of their own to make a proposal that would disproportionately target single moms.
Single mothers have been targets of the Republican Party before. Recently, Wisconsin Senator Glen Grothman offered a bill that would label mothers who raise children by themselves as a form of child abuse. Proposals like Grothman’s and Chelgren’s represent an anti-single mothers sentiment that runs rampant through the Republican Party and represents just a part of their war on women. So next time you see a Republican on television claiming that Democrats are against moms, remember that Republicans declared war on mothers a long time ago and are actually the ones currently waging it.