Blog Posts, Current Actions

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

Last week, U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Tom Marino (R-PA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), David Joyce (R-OH), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act (H. R. 2772). According to Wasserman Schultz’s office:

This bipartisan legislation encourages states to pass laws that allow women to petition for the termination of parental rights based on clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived through rape. The bill would provide incentives to states with protective statutes through a grant program that provides additional federal funding through two programs authorized in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant and the Sexual Assault Services Program.

One important aspect of the bill is that it calls upon states to allow mothers to petition for termination of rapists’ parental rights if they can show “clear and convincing evidence” that they were raped. Most states that allow termination of rapists’ parental rights require a conviction, but of course most rapes do not result in conviction. In fact, rapists have been known to pressure their victims into not pressing charges by threatening to sue for custody if they do.

All Our Lives supports this legislation and calls upon all pro-life organizations to do the same.