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(Des Moines, IA) The Iowa House and Iowa Senate passed HF 2386 which allows the court to terminate the parental rights of a person who perpetuated sexual abuse. Currently Iowa law does not allow for parental rights to be terminated for this reason alone.

The law protects victims of rape and sexual abuse. “A rape victim doesn’t have to face her attacker or the possibility of him either filing for custody or visitation (sometimes used to continue abuse) or using signing the termination of parental rights as leverage to get charges dropped,” Tim Overlin, executive director of Personhood Iowa, said in a post on Facebook.

While the bill is not a pro-life bill, it does have pro-life implications Overlin noted. “Because of (this bill) she is even more likely to choose life for her baby; whether that’s to parent or place for adoption,” Overlin added.

Today the Iowa Senate passed the bill unanimously 49 to 0. Last week the Iowa House passed the bill early last week on a 95 to 0 vote.

Groups like the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Father Flanagan’s Boys Home, The FAMiLY Leader, Personhood Iowa, and the Iowa Catholic Conference supported the bill. The Iowa State Bar Association was the only group to have lobbyists register against the bill.

Model legislation for this bill originated with an organization called Hope After Rape Conception, a group that assists rape survivor mothers and their children.

The bill’s passage was led by State Representative Greg Heartsill (R-Melcher-Dallas) in the House and State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) in the Senate.

It is expected that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will sign the bill into law.

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