Posted 26 January 2018
HB1/SB2 - Family Law - Child Conceived Without Consent - Termination of Parental Rights (Rape Survivor Family Protection Act)
Great news! House Bill 1/Senate Bill 2 - Family Law - Child Conceived Without Consent - Termination of Parental Rights (Rape Survivor Family Protection Act) was heard in the both the House and Senate Committees and passed out of both. The bills now go to the floors of both chambers for full votes. Now is the time to email or call your state Senator and Delegates and urge them to support HB1/SB2. To look up who represents you in Annapolis, click here to go to the Maryland General Assembly website and enter your address. Let them know you support this legislation and urge a favorable vote.
HB1/SB2 provides that if a child is born as a result of a rape - referred to as "nonconsensual sexual conduct" out of concern that the bill not have criminal implications - the parental rights of the assailant will be terminated. This means that if the mother makes an adoption plan, the rapist will be excluded from participation in the adoption process. If the mother chooses to raise the child, the rapist would be prevented from being awarded custody or visitation except in limited circumstances where supervised visitation is determined to be in the best interests of the child.
Under HB1/SB2, the standard to decide whether the rape occurred and whether to terminate the rapist's parental rights is "clear and convincing evidence" that the child was conceived through rape. This standard of evidence is higher than the normal civil standard-"by a preponderance of the evidence"-and is used in all other family law contexts for the judicial termination of parental rights. It would be disrespectful of rape victims to require a conviction as a standard in these cases because rape victims should have to meet the same standard used in other termination of parental rights cases-no more, no less.