STATEHOUSE – Senate Bill 190, a bill to protect women who are victims of violence and their children passed the House Judiciary Committee today. Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse) sponsored the legislation and testified in committee.
The Termination of Parent-Child Relationship bill prohibits a rapist who impregnated a woman through the act of rape from obtaining custody, parenting time or contact with the child. Under current Indiana law, a rapist may claim parental rights for a child conceived by the act.
“Victims of this heinous act are prevented from living a peaceful life because the rapist can be involved in raising the child,” said Rep. Kubacki. “A victim who courageously chooses to raise a child conceived through the violence of rape should not live in fear of having the convicted rapist reentering their lives.”
It is difficult to know how many women conceive during a rape since sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in the United States. The FBI reports that less than 28 percent of sexual assaults are reported to police. In Indiana, it is estimated that one out of every seven women are victims of rape.
“Women who conceive during a rape have the ability to abort, but those who choose life should be protected,” said Rep. Kubacki. “We have no idea how many more women would choose to give life instead of having an abortion if they knew the rapist could not obtain custody rights.
“As the mother of two, there is no greater gift than a child. Our responsibility as a parent is to do all we can to protect them and raise them with love.”
The bill will now be heard by the House and is likely to be further amended before going to a summer study committee.