Legislation that would terminate the parental rights of rapists has gained two influential allies, as discussed in recent articles in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post. Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch expressed support for the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act in the upcoming 2018 legislative session. House Speaker Busch is co-sponsoring and re-introducing the legislation in his chamber as House Bill 1, and Senate President Miller announced last week that he will co-sponsor the legislation as Senate Bill 2.
Last year, the failure of the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act prompted national and even international media attention after an all male conference committee was appointed and failed to file a report on time. This year, the leadership of the General Assembly want a different result.
President Miller said he would co-sponsor the bill when the legislature reconvenes in January and would make it a top priority, to “make sure victims of rape are protected and not forced to co-parent with their rapist.”
Earlier this month, House Speaker Busch said he also planned to co-sponsor the bill, and said it would be the first piece of legislation taken up in the new session. “This protection is long overdue and victims of sexual assault need us to take action,” Busch wrote on Facebook.
Delegate Kathleen Dumais is the long-time House lead sponsor of the Rape Survivor bill. In the Senate, Senator Brian Feldman and Senator Susan Lee became lead sponsors after Rep. Jamie B. Raskin was elected to Congress. MCASA's Executive Director & Counsel Lisae C. Jordan told the Washington Post it has been “incredibly frustrating and disappointing” over the past decade to tell women who were raped and got pregnant “that the law is not there for them.” “I look forward to the time when we can explain how the law can help women in their situation,” she said.
To learn more about the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, click here.