Shauna Prewitt, a lawyer from Chicago, recently revealed a very disturbing fact: 31 states in the US allow a convicted rapist to sue for custody and visitation rights of his victim's child. This is a right granted by omission - the states simply assume that a rapist would not WANT custody over the child, but this is a very real threat, and one that can be held over a victim's head to pressure her into not pressing charges against her rapist should she choose to keep her baby.
I would like for the federal government of the US to pass a law that, like Missouri, establishes that a "biological father's guilty plea or conviction of forcible rape of the birth mother is conclusive evidence to termination of his rights," except I would ask that our congress remove the misleading term "forcible." Whether a rape is forcible or not, a rapist has violated a sacred trust .
The 31 states where rapists can sue for custody and/or visitation are:
Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.
If you live in one of these states, don't just stop at signing the petition. Contact your state's government and encourage that a law be passed at the state level, as well. Victims of rape deserve our protection. I hope you will join me.