Bill: ID dads of babies born to underage moms

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — A bill that passed the Mississippi House on Wednesday is aimed at identifying and prosecuting those who impregnate underage girls.

House Bill 151 would require physicians or midwives to collect umbilical cord blood when a baby is born to a mother who’s younger than 16 and the mother doesn’t reveal the father’s name.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson says a DNA test, using the cord blood, could determine who the father is. He says if the father is an adult, authorities could pursue statutory rape charges.

Gipson says Republican Gov. Phil Bryant requested the bill and Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood supports it.

Opponents raised concerns about medical privacy.

The bill passed 99-18 and goes to the Senate.