Iowa Republican Holds Up Bill To Take Away Rapists’ Parental Rights, Says It’s ‘Feel Good’ Legislation

Most reasonable people would agree that rapists should have no rights to a child conceived during their violent assault on an innocent woman. However, as they demonstrate time and time again, Republicans are not reasonable. In yet another demonstration of their ignorance and insensitivity when it comes to the plight of rape victims, an Iowa State Representative by the name of Chip Baltimore has deliberately held up a bill in committee that would automatically terminate the parental rights of rapists, dismissing it as “feel good” legislation.

Of course, women’s groups are fighting Baltimore’s ridiculous ideas, as they should. Jennifer Carlson, who is the Executive Director of the Rape Victims’ Advocacy Program at the University of Iowa, says of the idea that rapists should have parental rights:

“We see this as a huge struggle for those victims as they are worried for the safety of their child as well as seeing their offender on a regular basis.”

She’s right, of course. Being raped is perhaps the most horrific thing that could ever happen to anyone. But to have to share custody of your child with your rapist is simply beyond the pale. It should go without saying that a rapist should have no rights to see a child conceived during such a violent act.

But, of course, all of that is lost in the misogyny-drenched mind of Rep. Chip Baltimore. In an infuriatingly ignorant and insensitive statement, Baltimore said:

“It’s a feel-good piece of legislation that quite honestly is dissociated with reality in the real world with the way the criminal justice system and the judicial system work. It’s a far more complicated situation, honestly, than most people acknowledge. I get the general concept. I understand the general concept. But it’s a concept that needs a lot more work.”

No, Rep. Baltimore, it is YOU who is disassociated with reality. You don’t understand the reality of what rape victims go through, and you don’t even want to give them the basic healing, peace of mind, and dignity of knowing that if they become pregnant as a result of the assault, that they will not be forced to see their rapists on a regular basis for the rest of their lives because the law says the rapists have the same parental rights as regular, loving parents. What is complicated about that? Nothing. This is just another way for you to attack women.

Beth Barnhill, executive director of the  Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, says of Baltimore’s outrageous statements:

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I do not have trust in the system. There are many, many ways it fails.”

She’s right, of course. Police departments across the country have a staggering backlog of rape kits; in fact, Detroit just started pulling up decades worth of untested rape kits that had sat in an abandoned warehouse since the women were assaulted. Of course, in many instances, the rapists went on to rape again. In just that one city, more than 100 serial rapists have been identified. So, no, Rep. Baltimore, the system does not work for rape victims — quite the opposite, in fact.

University of Iowa’s Jennifer Carlson sums it up perfectly:

“Often, we see this desire for custody or involvement in the child’s life as nothing more than an extension of the power and control and an element in which (the attacker) can continue to have an impression and a domination of their victim.”

That’s the whole point that these GOP misogynists are missing. Rape is not about sex. It is about power, anger, control, and a need to dominate women and keep us in our places. Allowing a rapist to continuously re-victimize his victim through a child produced through the assault is just giving these sadists what they want: ultimate and complete, long-lasting control over their victims. Any law that prevents this should be a no-brainer, no matter what side of the political aisle one is on.

Rep. Baltimore and his fellow misogynists should be nowhere near a decision-making process for anything surrounding rape, or women at all for that matter.

And the GOP says there is no war on women… Here is just one more piece of proof that there most certainly is.

Featured Image: Iowa State Website