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senate Bill S. 2443

Encouraging States To Abolish Paternal Rights for Rapists

Argument in favor

Thousands of rape cases in the U.S. result in pregnancy, and rapists often use the child as a way to threaten the mother. This bill protects survivors and children from suffering any more trauma.

Argument opposed

People who are wrongly convicted of rape deserve to see their children and fight for custody — Especially if they are still responsible for paying child support.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJune 5th, 2014

What is Senate Bill S. 2443?

S.2443 — the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act — aims to protect rape victims and their children against recurring harassment from the mother's attacker. If passed, the bill would:
  • Offer grants to states that have laws in place terminating the parental rights of people convicted of a rape
  • Creates a process for states to submit a grant application. Applications are received and approved by the Attorney General.
  • Puts limits on the grant funds — each grant is given for one year and can be renewed no more than four times.
  • Outlines how grant funds must be used: 25 percent of funds must be used for the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program and 75 percent as permitted by the Sexual Assault Services Program

In the context of this bill, termination of paternal rights means the “complete and final” end of the parent’s right to custody. That also means no visitation rights or access to child’s inheritance.


Thousands of rape survivors who had a child as a product of rape, their children, their rapist, states that terminate paternal rapist rights, sexual violence/assault support centers, and the Attorney General.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2443

$5.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable, however, the bill says that $5,000,000 would be authorized for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

More Information

In Depth:

To be clear: S. 2443 does not terminate a rapists obligation to pay child support. The bill was composed based on 10 Congressional findings on rape. Several of those statistics show a pressing need for more legislation:

  • Thousands of women become pregnant from rape every year in the U.S.;

  • The majority of those women who become pregnant through rape choose to raise their child;

  • Only six states have passed solid protections that allow rape survivors to submit a petition that would terminate their rapist's parental rights;

  • When a rapist tries to gain parental rights, the rape survivor is forced to experience more psychological trauma from interacting with them;

  • Rapists can threaten to fight for custody in an effort to coerce the rape survivor to not file rape charges.

While many think granting all custody rights to the mother of a rape crime is a given — it’s not so obvious to all congressional representatives. Remember Rep. Todd Akin’s (MI-R) comment in the 2012 election cycle about “legitimate rape”? Rep. Akin claimed that women could not become pregnant from “legitimate rape." His comment led to protest among women who had become pregnant from rape, including Shauna Prewitt, a rape survivor, who advocated for H.R. 2772, a similar bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives in July 2013.


The Hill

Press Release Sponsoring Rep. Kelly Ayotte (NH-R)

Think Progress

(Photo Credit: Lisa Norwood)


Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

Official Title

A bill to direct the Attorney General to make grants to States that have in place laws that terminate the parental rights of men who father children through rape.

    Only 2% of rape charges are false which is not higher then another crime. Rape is the least likely crime to be reported so hopefully this would help women step forward in order to protect them and their child form future trauma and harassment