Did you know that our state is one of the very that allows attackers to claim parental rights when a woman is impregnated during a sexual assault?
The Baltimore Sun reports that there are only six other states that allow rapists to assert parental rights.
Those states are Alabama, Mississippi, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota and New Mexico. This winter, Maryland will probably be removed from that list. Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Maine have already passed this kind of law.
Bill expected to pass in January
Two leaders in the General Assembly have announced that they plan to pass a bill that has long been sought by the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA). They are Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Speaker Michael E. Busch. They plan to co-sponsor and introduce this legislation when the General Assembly returns in January.
The point of the bill is plain: that rapists should not have the rights of family members. It is universally agreed that women who have been assaulted in this manner shouldn’t have to fight her attacker for custody rights.
You may wonder why sexual attackers have any rights at all in the matter of custody. It is because a rape conviction has historically been required before a victim was allowed to request termination of parental rights.
Since most rape cases don’t go to trial, rapists in these states may retain custody rights by default.
One study quoted the dilemma women may face in these states: “Excuse me, I have to text my rapist.”