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.