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New bill would ban rapists from seeking custody of victim's child

The fact that rapists can sue for custody or visitation of their victims' children in Texas may come as a surprise to most people. Many believe that the rapist would want nothing to do with the child, but this isn't always the case. A custody rights attorney says that often a rapist will use the child and tell his victim that they will go after custody of the child if the victim does not drop the criminal charges.

Texas is 1 of 31 states that currently allows a person who has been convicted of rape to go to court and seek custody of the child conceived during the rape. A new bill, known as the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, is being discussed in the House of Representatives and hopes to change that. If it is passed, it will help enable victims to go to court and have the parental rights of the rapist terminated. 

The bill’s co-sponsor said that there is a misconception that babies conceived during a rape are always aborted. There is a large number of women who see the pregnancy to full term and choose to keep and raise their children. There are nearly 11,000 women each year who bear children conceived during a rape and decide to raise them. The custody rights attorney was one of them. As a senior in college, she was raped. Because of the custody rights law in the state where she lived, she had to endure feeling “tethered” to her rapist for many years. She hopes this new law will help victims of rape to raise their children in peace without going through custody battles. 

Source: Opposing Views, “Rape Survivor Child Custody Act Introduced In House, Aims To Strip Rapists Of Child Custody Rights,” Jonathan Wolfe, July 26, 2013

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