Friday, October 16, 2015

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act passes Michigan House

The Michigan House of Representatives approved HB 4481 on October 15 by an overwhelming bi-partisan 101-4 vote. This bill would strengthen the rights of women who carry their child to term after conceiving in rape. The bill reduces barriers to a woman blocking the rapist from seeking legal custody and parenting time with the child. Sometimes perpetrators who know their victims use the threat of a custody battle over the child to coerce the woman to either have an abortion or to drop the rape charges the victim has brought against them.

This legislation is inspired by the story of Shauna Prewitt, who was forced to choose between protecting her daughter conceived in rape or dropping the charges against her assailant. Shauna witnesses to the inestimable value and beauty of her daughter's life through a short video that is part of Right to Life of Michigan's Compassion Project.

HB 4481 now heads to the Senate where we will begin working immediately for its passage. Right to Life of Michigan is proud to have brought this legislation to bill sponsor Rep. Lisa Lyons for introduction, and we are encouraged and pleased by its progress thus far.