This is something I did not know. I have had many discussions with
my right wing sister starting with the words "what if..." this could
happen? Or, "next thing, the right will be giving rapists the right to
visitation and custody..." I did not know until today that it is true
in 31 states that rapists have these rights!!! How can this be?
Today, it is all over the intertubes, but I haven't seen it picked up
yet at DKos (sorry if I missed it). It seems this is a HUGELY relevant
issue to the rape and abortion stories and news right now. I'll bet
most people don't know this, except for those who have had to go through
I am going to post the links to a couple of the stories here:
First, the link to the Georgtown Law Journal publication by the writer:
Georgetown Law Journal
Second, the link to the CNN article about Shauna Prewitt and her experience with having this happen to her:
Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over - CNN.com
Here is the CNN info on Shauna Prewitt:
Editor's note: Shauna R. Prewitt is a lawyer in Chicago. She
is the author of "Giving Birth to a 'Rapist's Child': A Discussion and
Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become
Mothers Through Rape," written for the Georgetown Law Journal.
Key quotes below the squiggle, but please read the whole thing.
Eight years after my rape, I find myself on trial against
ignorance again. Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments that "legitimate rape"
rarely results in pregnancy not only flout scientific fact but, for me,
cut deeper. Akin has de-legitimized my rape.
You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful
little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she
is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that
after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter,
life would be all roses and endless days at the playground. I was wrong
It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast
majority of states -- 31 -- men who father through rape are able to
assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that
other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising
these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights
to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have
access to her child.
Returning to my comments:
She goes on to report how long rape trials can take (if there ever is
one) and how much time that gives the rapist to claim his rights as a
"father". And even after conviction (an even less likely scenario), he
still can claim such rights and be involved in his victim's life for
many, many years.
Isn't it funny that those who vehemently oppose abortion in cases of
rape never mention that, if you live in one of those 31 states and you
choose to keep the child born of rape, you could be forced to have at
least another 18 years of connection with the rapist because HE HAS
RIGHTS AS A FATHER??!!!
I think this story should be all over the tv news. Let's try to push
it out there. This will be a very, very interesting discussion to
Why does the right focus on the victims and how much they can demean
them, but have nothing at all to say about trying to end rape and
rapists' rights to custody and visitation?
I wanna hear Paul Ryan and others explain this and tell us what they are going to do about it.
7:56 PM PT:
Info found on states that do not allow custody, with caveats. I have
contacted Guttmacher to see if I can find a definitive list. Will let
you know if I get a response.
THE PARENTAL RIGHTS OF RAPISTS
The latest case to discuss this issue is Shepherd v. Clemens, 752
A.2d 533 (Del. 2000). There, the court concluded that when a child is
conceived and born as the result of an unlawful sexual intercourse as
defined in the code, the biological father shall not be permitted
visitation. This does not violate constitutional principles. “No court
has held that the mere fact of biological fatherhood that was the result
of a conception during a criminal act and that is unaccompanied by a
relationship with the child, creates an interest that the United States
Constitution protects in the name of liberty.” See Lehr v. Robertson,
463 U.S. 248, 259-62 (1983). See generally Deborah L. Forman, Unwed
Fathers and Adoption: A Theoretical Analysis in Context, 72 Texas L.Rev.
Other states have similar statutory provisions. Alaska Stat. §
25.23.180 (1999) court may terminate parental relationship if child was
conceived as a result of sexual assault, and termination is in the best
interests of the child); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 361.5 (West 1999)
(reunification not provided to parent of child conceived as result of
sexual assault); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-717 (1999) (court may terminate
parental rights of parent convicted of a sexual assault resulting in the
conception of a child, except in certain cases of statutory rape);
Idaho Code § 16-2005 (1999) (court may grant termination of parental
rights as to a parent who conceived a child as a result of rape); 750
Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 50/8 (West 1999) (father's consent to adoption not
required if he fathered child as result of criminal sexual abuse or
assault); Ind. Code § 31-19-9-8 (1999) (notice to father of adoption
proceedings not required if child conceived as result of rape, incest,
or sexual misconduct with a minor); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 19-A, §
1658 (West 1999) (court may terminate parental rights of person who
conceived child as result of crime involving sexual intercourse, unless
court informed that the act was consensual); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.447
(1999) (biological father's guilty plea or conviction of forcible rape
of the birth mother is conclusive evidence to termination his parental
rights); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 125c.210 (1999) (father has no right of
custody or visitation if child conceived as result of sexual assault
unless consented to by mother and is in the best interest of the child);
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 9:2-4.1 (West 1999) (see infra text accompanying this
note); N.M. Stat. Ann. § 32A-5-19 (Michie 1999); N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law §
111-a (McKinney 1999); Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 10, § 7006-1.1 (1999)
(stating that the court may terminate parental rights if the child was
conceived as a result of rape); 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2511 (West
1999) (father's parental rights may be terminated if child conceived as a
result of rape or incest); S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1734 (Law Co-op. 1999)
(father not entitled to notice of adoption proceedings if child
conceived as result of criminal sexual misconduct); Wis. Stat. §§ 48.42,
48.415 (1999) (§ 48.42 stating that no notice is required to the father
in a termination of parental rights case when the child has been
conceived as a result of sexual assault or rape; § 48.415 stating that
parenthood as a result of sexual assault or rape is grounds for
involuntary termination of parental rights).
10:23 PM PT: Holy, molely! Not just the rec list, but check this out.
If you Google - rapists rights custody visitation - this diary is second from the top on Google searches!!
Thanks, all! Hope we can get this onto MSNBC tomorrow.
10:45 PM PT: Oh, and let's not forget Current!!!
Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 7:25 PM PT:
Even though this is way off the rec list by now (too much news), I
wanted to follow up and close this out. I rec'd a response from
Guttmacher re which are the 31 states that allow parental rights for
rapists. They do not have that information and referred me back to
Shawna Prewitt's paper in the Georgetown Law Journal.
So, we are back around in circles. It will probably take a lawyer to sort this out, and I am not one.
Thanks for everyone's participation!
Originally posted to maryschoyc on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM PDT.
Also republished by
Rape and Domestic Violence, Pro Choice, House of LIGHTS, and Abortion.
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