U.S. Senate bill would enable rape victims to terminate a father’s parental rights

Posted by Renee Schoof on June 20, 2014 

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on Friday said that she is supporting a bill that would encourage states to enact laws that allow a rape victim to terminate her rapist’s parental rights if there is clear evidence that a child was conceived through rape.

Under current state law, parental rights can be terminated if the father is convicted of rape. The proposed legislation would give states additional grants as an incentive to pass new laws to give women the right to petition if there is clear and convincing evidence of rape.

“This legislation would enable rape survivors to protect themselves and their children from their attacker’s pursuit of parental rights, which rapists often use as a tactic to force the mother to drop rape charges. We cannot allow rapists to pursue parental rights and inhibit the mother’s ability to heal and to raise her child in a healthy environment,” Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, said in a statement.

Courts often are reluctant to terminate a person’s parental rights, even when there is clear evidence of an attack, her office said in a news release.

Hagan is the seventh co-sponsor of the bill. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced it in the Senate earlier this month.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service