Parental Rights Legislation Prefiled for 2016 Legislative Session

A bill that could be the 2016 legislative session’s most significant pro life effort was prefiled earlier this month by Rep. Brad Raffensperger of Johns Creek. House Bill 713 provides for terminating the parental rights of a father of a child conceived through rape or sex trafficking. The bill also provides for a loss of parental rights for any parent who causes a child to be conceived through rape, child molestation, sexual assault, incest, or sex trafficking.

Rep. Raffensperger says the new law is needed because in many cases, the rapist threatens to exercise his parental rights as leverage to prevent his victim from filing charges or testifying against him. The story of one woman who was a victim of this situation inspired Raffensperger to author the bill:

“I became aware of this injustice this summer when I was first told of the ordeal of Ms. Shauna Prewitt. Ms. Prewitt was raped while in university, and a child was conceived and brought to full term. Ms. Prewitt reluctantly agreed not to testify against her rapist perpetrator as part of a settlement to ensure that he would not be part of her life and the life of her child. This injustice to Ms. Prewitt energized her to study law, and she now fights for legal protections for women and children that are victims of rape.”

The bill will be formally introduced when the legislative session starts on January 11th. Rep. Raffensperger expects the bill will be broadly supported in both the House and Senate.

4 comments

    • Three Jack says:

      I’m guessing the stretch would be – “if we don’t pass this, then rape victims will be more inclined to abort vs. letting the rapist assume father duties.’

      Yet again it amazes me that we need a law to address this issue. How in the world does a rapist ever get to assume the role of father from our system as it exists now?

  1. Dash Riptide says:

    If parental rights are terminated due to rape the Department of Human Resources should still be able to go after the rapist for support despite the loss of parental rights. That would require an amendment to OCGA 15-11-261. Feel free to call it the “Dash Riptide Amendment.”

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    “Rep. Raffensperger says the new law is needed because in many cases, the rapist threatens to exercise his parental rights as leverage to prevent his victim from filing charges or testifying against him.”

    In many cases?

    What if the alleged rapist is married to the child’s mother? A rape allegation is an interesting wrinkle if divorce is pending or in the picture. What is the statutory limit on a rape charge?

    When is the termination of rights effective? Surely it’s not upon an allegation or an arrest. Upon conviction?

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