by Rebecca Kiessling | LifeNews.com | 6/1/15 12:14 PM
A new federal law, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, will protect women who are victims of rape and decide to keep their baby. Shauna Prewitt, an attorney who co-founded Hope After Rape Conception, first spearheaded the idea along with rape survivor Analyn Megison
Rebecca Kiessling, who has been working to protect mothers across the country who decide against having an abortion after they were victimized, has helped pushed the legislation on a state level. Kiessling tells LifeNews that the new law “provides an incentive to states to pass legislation providing for a means to terminate the parental rights of rapists, using the “clear and convincing evidence” standard from the U.S Supreme Court case of Santosky v Kramer.”
She profiled the case of Analyn Megison (pictured above), who rejected abortion after rape. Them her rapist sought custody.
“My custody case in Florida against my rapist started in 2010 and went on for a little over two years. Though I had a restraining order and had pursued prosecution, he was not convicted of rape,” Megison has said. “At the time he sued for custody, I did not know how many states had no or limited legal protection at that time from a rapist biological father when the child was conceived from his attack. Those states which had laws required a rape conviction. For me, all that counted at the time was that Florida had no legal protection at all for this. I recall the judge asking if there was any law to prohibit this — even a federal law –and me replying: ‘Not yet, but I am working on it.'”
Megison sprung into action and Florida approved a law that became the basis for the federal legislation.
“In Analyn’s home state of Florida, she got the legislature to pass this legislation unanimously, which is how Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz heard of our model legislation. Several states are currently working to pass this law, including Michigan and Maryland, while some states’ legislation, like Pennsylvania, are insufficient because those bills require a rape conviction,” Kiessling said.
Other states are expected to approve their own laws.
“Another board member, Angi Grogg, has been working on getting our model legislation passed in many states, ever since her family endured a court battle fighting her 14 year old daughter’s rapist for custody,” Kiessling said. “Several members of Save The 1 who were conceived in rape suffered molestation by their rapist fathers because they were not protected by law, including Darlene Pawlik and Rowena Slusser. Other women from our organization, such as Robyn McLean and Darlene Pawlik’s mom, were repeatedly raped as their rapist used contact with the child to continue raping her.”
Kiessling is urging pro-life advocates to get involved in the battle to protect mothers from rapists who seek custody of their children after the rape and abortion rejection.
“We encourage every pro-life organization to get behind this legislation, as Right to Life of Michigan is currently championing this bill. Not only is it pro-life in effect — because pregnant rape victims will be more likely to choose life if they know they’ll be protected from the rapist, but you’ll be able to demonstrate that you really care about these women and their children, and you’ll also have the advantage of seeing rape survivor mothers testifying before the legislature,” she explained.
She said “the testimonies of these rape survivors and the love they have for their children” is “very powerful.”
“Only a couple of states have this clear and convincing evidence standard, and many states still have nothing at all. With this new law from Congress, it’s the perfect time to begin working with your state legislators to properly protect rape survivor mothers and their children,” she concluded.