The Senate today approved Senate Bill 663, legislation introduced by Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) that will strengthen the rights of rape victims who have conceived a child as a result of the rape.
Under the legislation, also known as the Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act, courts could terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist, thereby eliminating the abuser’s access to full, partial, or supervised custody of a child conceived by rape. The measure maintains an offender’s obligation to pay child support even if parental rights are terminated by court order.
Current law only allows for the termination of parental rights of convicted rapists pending adoption. Furthermore, if the parental rights of the offender are terminated, the obligation to pay child support is also terminated.
“As it stands, if a victim of rape decides to keep a child that was conceived as a result of the rape, she could be forced under state law to interact with the perpetrator on a regular basis if he demands his visitation rights,” said Senator Vulakovich, a former municipal police officer and a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. “In essence, she could be repeatedly subjected to enduring the pain and reliving the trauma that the criminal inflicted on her. That is not fair and that is not right. This legislation corrects that situation.”
Senate Bill 663 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Contact: Charlie O’Neill (717) 787-6538