FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 29th, 2019

***Release***
In 2019 some Legislative Republicans don’t understand rape.
(BISMARCK, ND) – Senate Bill 2185 allows judges to terminate the parental rights of somebody who pleaded guilty to or was convicted of a rape that led to the child’s birth. This was a great piece of Legislation until House Judiciary Chairman Kim Koppelman (R-West Fargo) brought forth and amendment exempting instances when “the parent is married to the victim of the sexual act.” Koppelman claimed he did not specifically push the amendment but audio from Wednesday’s meeting showed Koppelman introduced the amendment to fellow lawmakers before a brief discussion. In an unexpected pivot, he then said the reaction has been “blown way out of proportion.”In his 2018 re-election campaign, Koppelman was endorsed by Senator Hoeven and Governor Doug Burgum , with Senator Hoeven calling Rep. Koppelman an “experienced, effective legislator.” Apparently, the NDGOP thinks proposing amendments giving parental rights to rapists is what an “experienced, effective” state Representative does.

“When any lawmaker delegitimizes something as serious as rape, there is really no way you can blow that out of proportion,” said Alison Jones, Communication Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “Sharron Roers-Jones, Steven Vetter, Aaron McWilliams, and Bernie Satrom and other House Republicans also sat on this committee, and none of them said anything. We all know Kim Koppelman has no legal training despite being the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, but you don’t need a law degree to understand rape is rape, no matter your relationship to the perpetrator. They should reconsider his amendment and pass the bill as it was introduced previously. Victims deserve better.”