Georgia House OKs bill to protect men incorrectly accused of paternity

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Georgia House OKs bill to protect men incorrectly accused of paternity

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Michael Zamora
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 file photo, a mother holds her newborn baby at a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. A study released Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 shows pregnancy affects not only a woman’s body: It changes parts of her brain structure too. (Michael Zamora/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

Men incorrectly accused of fathering a child would have a means to clarify paternity other than going on “The Maury Povich Show” under legislation the state House unanimously passed Wednesday.

Under House Bill 344, an individual ordered to pay child support would be able to request — and pay the fee for — a genetic test to determine paternity from the Department of Human Services. The department expressed support for the bill.

The proposal changes the language of a petitioning individual from a “movant” to a “party.”

State Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said the bill is designed “to clarify and make sure that the father is truly the father.”

Dempsey did not directly address a House member’s question regarding reimbursement of money paid by falsely accused fathers.

The bill, which passed 173-0, now moves to the Senate.

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