All-male panel ruled on rape bill during Maryland's legislative session
As the 2017 legislative session wound down Monday evening, five men sat on couches in a lounge inside Maryland's State House. They would soon decide the fate of a bill that would allow a woman who is raped and conceives a child to terminate the parental rights of her assailant.
Maryland is one of 16 states that has not passed such a law. Women here still have to negotiate with an alleged rapist over custody or putting the child up for adoption.
It was the ninth time Del. Kathleen Dumais had tried to pass the law. It had progressed further in the state legislature than ever before by passing both houses. But there were substantial differences between the House and Senate versions, so a conference committee of three delegates and three senators was chosen to negotiate a single bill.
Neither Dumais nor any other woman was asked to be on the committee.