Friday, August 30, 2013
Courts - "A Spectacularly Awful Week in Rape: When courts can’t get even the easy cases right, we’re in big trouble"
Outstanding Slate article by Dahlia Lithwick.
About half-way through, this paragraph:
Massachusetts is one of 31 states in which rapists are allowed to sue for child custody and visitation. Thirty-one. Last summer, after Rep. Todd Akin’s absurd claims about “legitimate rape,” Shauna Prewitt shared her harrowing story of becoming pregnant after a rape, then dealing with her rapist’s efforts to gain custody of their daughter. In a law review article published in the Georgetown Law Journal in 2010, Prewitt argued for legislation that would protect the estimated 30 percent of women who opt to keep pregnancies that result from rape, noting that in most states, “a man who fathers through rape has the same custody and visitation privileges to that child as does any other father of a child.” As a consequence, a mother will usually bargain away her legal rights in the interest of creating a distance between herself and her attacker. In a legal moment at which we are talking about amending statutory language to say “forcible rape,” it’s worth wondering how it is even possible that we live in a country in which most states privilege the rapist’s right to access his child over the mother’s right to be left alone.See also these two ILB posts from 2012:
- September 3, 2012 - "No rights for rapists" - Most Hoosiers were as shocked as legislators earlier this year when they learned that in Indiana, rapists retain parental rights over children conceived by their violent crime...
- August 23, 2012 - "Denying rapists parental rights snarls panel" - The Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee met yesterday morning. The first item on the agenda was "The parental rights of an individual whose child was conceived as the result of the individual committing rape (SEA 190-2012)."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 30, 2013 10:34 AM
Posted to Courts in general