Health Team

Maryland's among a handful of states that allow rapists parental rights. That's about to change

Posted February 8, 2018 8:58 a.m. EST

— Maryland lawmakers approved a bill that lets rape victims impregnated during an attack ask a judge to end their assailants' parental rights.

The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act unanimously passed both chambers of the state's general assembly last week. It allows a victim to ask a court to terminate a rapist's parental rights, even if the attacker hasn't been convicted of the crime, as long as there's "clear and convincing evidence" of guilt.

Gov. Larry Hogan said he'll sign it.

State lawmaker Kathleen M. Dumais has fought for this legislation to be passed since 2007.

"It's been such a long, hard-fought battle," Dumais told the Baltimore Sun. "It's time to just do it. ... Let's get it on the books."

Until the bill's passage, Maryland was one of only a handful of states that still allow rapists to have parental rights. The others are New Mexico, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, Mississippi and Alabama.