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2/20/2012 6:46:00 PM
Indiana plan to deny rapists access to child conceived by crime advances

Dan Carden, Times of Northwest Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS | An Indiana House panel used a procedural maneuver Monday to keep alive legislation that denies a rapist access to his child conceived by rape.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 9-3 to amend Senate Bill 190 to guarantee the Senate-approved measure will end up in a House-Senate conference committee if the amended legislation is approved by the House.

The change restores the original proposal of state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, allowing a woman to seek a court order terminating the parent-child relationship between her child conceived by rape and the rapist.

The Senate-approved legislation permits a court to reject a man's request for custody, parenting time or contact with a child if the court believes the child was conceived by rape.

State Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, said that plan leaves unanswered questions about child support, grandparent visitation rights and inheritance matters that are better addressed by the original proposal.

Other committee members questioned why the Senate plan exempts the rape of a married woman by her husband and whether the original proposal puts an unnecessary burden on a woman who has been raped.

State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said a summer study committee might best resolve the issues, but state Rep. Ralph Foley, R-Martinsville, the committee chairman, said he wanted the bill to stay alive.

Charbonneau promised if the House approves its amended proposal he will request a conference committee to resolve differences with the Senate version. That would give lawmakers more time to devise a satisfactory plan, he said.

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