A rape survivor and an attorney, both women, spearheaded an idea that led to the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. This new federal law has been put in place to help protect female victims of rape who choose to keep a baby born as a result of that rape. Maryland is one of several states that are working locally to pass the law that could dictate child custody in case of a rape.
This law would allow the state to terminate any parental rights that the rapist may have. The model for this act would come from Santosky vs. Kramer, which is a case that went through the U.S. Supreme Court. The standard from that case says there must be clear and convincing evidence to strip a man of his parental rights.
The rape survivor who helped to spearhead this legislation decided to have her child. Then, her rapist filed for custody of her child. This prompted the Florida woman to fight for victims’ rights across the nation.
The Florida law was approved, and it became the model for the law passed by the federal government. It has been asserted that some children of rape suffer abuse from the rapist when he has custody or visitation rights. Therefore, the law will help to protect the children as well as the victims.
While not every state is currently pursuing this legislation, authorities in Maryland are working toward an approval. A victim of rape who becomes pregnant may wish to speak to an attorney who can help her present a case to the courts. She may be able to have the rapist’s parental rights revoked so that child custody is not a possibility for the offender.
Source: lifenews.com, “New Law Says Rapist Shouldn’t Get Custody of His Child When a Raped Woman Rejects Abortion“, Rebecca Kiessling, June 1, 2015