Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Wilson Signs Bill Requiring Data on Mothers' Marital Status

September 17, 1996| From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — A bill requiring counties to record the marital status of new mothers was signed by Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday, ending California's practice of assuming a mother is unmarried if she doesn't use her husband's last name.

"At a time when political rhetoric has targeted unwed mothers as contributing to the drain on public resources, it is critical that marital status data be accurate," said Assemblywoman Jackie Speier (D-Burlingame), author of the law.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 1997. To safeguard patient confidentiality, marital status will not be recorded in the confidential section of a birth certificate but will be transmitted electronically from hospitals to county registrars.

Until now, California has been one of five states that did not directly determine the marital status of mothers who give birth.

Figures reported by the National Center for Health Statistics, the official data-gathering arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggest 35% of children born in California--more than one out of three--are born to unwed mothers.

National health researchers believe California's data-gathering methods have led to an over-reporting of births to unmarried women.

California's illegitimacy rate in 1993--the last year for which federal data is available--was the ninth highest in the nation; the national rate was 31%.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|