Senator Testifies In Support Of Bill To Protect Rape Survivors
Bill would prevent attackers from suing for parental rights
January 14, 2014
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COLUMBUS—Today, State Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) offered sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 171, a proposal jointly sponsored by Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) that would prevent convicted rapists from seeking parental rights over children conceived as a result of a sexual assault.

“Senate Bill 171 will empower survivor parents by allowing them to file a court claim terminating the custodial rights of their attacker,” Senator Turner said during committee. “The bill would also ensure that survivor parents need not seek the approval of their rapist in order to place the child up for adoption, a request that would further enable the attacker to exert control over the life of the victim.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, around 32,000 pregnancies occur annually as a result of sexual assaults in the United States. Ohio is one of 31 states in which rapists are able to sue their victims to receive parental rights such as visitation and partial custody.

“Every day, rape survivors struggle to cope with the long-term emotional trauma from their assault. Without any legal protections in place to prevent rapists from seeking custodial rights, Ohio is allowing assailants to continue to torment their victims rather than protecting survivors and their children,” Senator Turner said.

The bill, which was first introduced on August 5, 2013, now awaits further action by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

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