As the mother of four young adult daughters and grandmother for a first time, I know our family has been blessed. However, my heart breaks to even consider the trauma that a victim of rape endures.
I am sponsoring Senate Bill (SB) 190, Termination of Parent-Child Relationship, a bill which allows a woman who has been raped to file a petition in court to terminate the biological father, the rapist’s, parental rights. Believe it or not, in Indiana a rapist may claim his parental rights for the baby forcing a woman who courageously chooses to raise the baby, rather than abort or give her child up for adoption, to deal with her rapist and share her precious child with him.
Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) drafted this bill after hearing firsthand from a female law student, who had been raped, dealt with this situation and then researched Indiana’s lack of protection for women like her and their children.
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 would conceive during a rape have the ability to abort; there are women who are determined to keep the baby, and we must do everything in our power to provide them with the support that they need during a difficult time.
This bill passed out of the Senate unanimously and now makes its way to a hearing in the House.
This is a difficult issue to talk about, and I know it is an epidemic in our nation, which is why we must begin to address these issues now and make our state more responsive to rights that victim’s not only deserve, but need. I pray that Indiana will provide these women and their children this protection as we not only honor the wishes of these mothers, but also honor the sanctity of life. May we all appreciate the abundant blessings we have, remain compassionate to those who are struggling or suffering, and provide assistance.
Have a safe and warm winter week.