Today's article on wtop.com highlights what advocates for the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act hope will be the end to a decade-long battle to pass the legislation. Yesterday's hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee featured testimony from numerous advocates for survivors of sexual assault who conceive a child as a result of rape. MCASA Executive Director and Counsel Lisae C. Jordan was among the leaders who testified in favor of the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, introduced as SB2.
The legislation would limit the parental rights of rapists when the child was conceived through rape and increase protections for the rape survivors who have a child conceived through rape. The legislation requires a clear and convincing standard of evidence, which is the same standard used in other family law cases that result in the termination of parental rights.
Despite the early hearing on the bill and support from leadership in both chambers, Jordan is taking nothing for granted. "Incrementally, we've gotten the bill stronger and stronger. It's past time that it should pass. We need to give women access to the courts." She added, "I don't believe it's over until it's over."
Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) questioned some of the wording of the bill. When asked about Hough's comments, Jordan responded, "I would suggest respectfully to him to let us pass the bill, let women have access to the courts, and if there are things we need to address in the future, we can do it then."
The House of Delegates version of the bill, HB1, will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee next Thursday, January 18, 2018.