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Maryland Fails to Pass Rape Survivor Family Protection Act

An All-Male Panel Let the Clock Run Out on a Necessary Bill For Rape Victims

In an unsurprising move, a group of male legislators completely let women down while voting on a monumental bill for rape victims. An all-male panel in Maryland did not pass the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, a proposed bill which would give rape victims the option to stop their rapist from having parental rights. Five male legislators recently convened to discuss proposals such as this one; however, they ran out of time and did not end up addressing the bill. Unfortunately, they will not meet again until 2018.

The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act was introduced by local delegate Kathleen Dumais in conjunction with NARAL, a pro-choice and reproductive rights advocacy group in Maryland. According to the organization, Maryland is one of seven states to not have a law like this.

In a curious series of events, the bill was passed by both the House and the Senate; however, there were some discrepancies about the language of the bill. To reach a conclusion, the bill then went to the aforementioned all-male five-person panel consisting of Senators Robert Zirkin, Michael Hough, and William Smith as well as Delegates David Moon, Brett Wilson, and Joseph Vallario Jr. (the last of whom sat out on negotiations). That's when, according to The Baltimore Sun, the legislators simply let the clock run out. However, Thomas V. Mike Miller, the Senate president, did say that if the General Assembly held a special session, they could decide on the bill, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Without the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, rape victims will be forced to keep in contact with their rapist, who will then have every right to see their child until they turn 18.

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