Post Critical of Failure to Pass Rape Survivor Family Protection Act
Washington Post Critical of Failure to Pass
Rape Survivor Family Protection Act
Editorial Board calls on legislators to address bill if General Assembly holds Special Session
A Washington Post editorial asks if the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act was doomed due to “incompetent leadership or actual animus” after the bill died in the final hours of the Maryland General Assembly’s Legislative Session. The bill, which would have created a process to terminate the parental rights of a rapist when their victim became pregnant as a result of the rape, passed both chambers of the Maryland legislature with some differences that needed to be worked out in conference committee. However, the bill stalled when committee chairs failed to appoint a conference committee until the very end of the legislative session. When the all-male panel of the committee was finally appointed, there was not enough time to iron out the differences to pass the legislation.
The Post cited MCASA‘s statement to the Baltimore Sun., “Chairman Zirkin knows how to pass a bill and how to kill one. If he wanted the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act to pass, it would have.” The Post also notes that this is the ninth time this legislation has been introduced by Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery). Delegate Dumais worked diligently to craft a bill that responded to extensive study and debate on the subject and garnered bi-partisan support. She was joined this session by Senator Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery) as lead sponsor in the Senate; Rep.Jamie Raskin sponsored the bill prior to being elected to Congress. 94 of the 141 delegates in the House and 36 of the 47 senators signed onto the bills as sponsors, and both bills passed their chambers unanimously. Citing Samantha Bee’s 2015 The Daily Show piece, the Post calls Maryland’s law which continues to grant parental rights to rapists “a source of embarrassment.”
MCASA will continue to advocate for survivors and remains committed to passing the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act.