Monday, May 18, 2015

Testimony on Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

Right to Life of Michigan members and the general public have been introduced to Shauna Prewitt thanks to her courageous advocacy mission and the television ad and video produced by RLM, which aired in the past several weeks on statewide TV.  Shauna's story of conceiving a child through rape and then fighting back against her attacker's effort to assert parental rights prompted the introduction of House Bill 4481 in the Lansing last month.

Already, the bill is being lined up for action in the House Criminal Justice Committee this coming Tuesday, May 19, at 9:00 a.m.

H.B. 4481 would allow a rape survivor who becomes pregnant from assault to petition the family court to terminate the parental rights of her assailant under a "clear and convincing" evidence standard and without the necessity of a criminal conviction.  Current law provides for the termination of parental rights of a man who impregnates a woman via sexual assault if he is convicted of felony rape.  Unfortunately, felony rape convictions are difficult to obtain and require a legal standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt".  This bill would make the standard for termination of parental rights the same as for those who abuse or neglect their child.