Rapists Have Paternity Rights In At Least 31 States

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Rapists Need Rights, Women Don't

GOP: Force A Rape Victim To Give Birth And Let The Rapist Have Paternity Rights!

In one of the first laws brought to the US House of Representatives after the 2010 elections, Republicans tried to redefine rape so that any exceptions to abortion would be limited. They do not begin to care about victims of rape, nor do they find it reprehensible that in over 30 states, rapists have paternity rights. In some of those states, rapists are only allowed to have visitation rights, but some even allow the rapist to seek custody of the child.

"When a pregnancy results from rape, it is what God intended to happen." Indiana GOP candidate for Senate, Richard Mourdock, is in agreement with GOP candidates nationwide. He is not an aberration, he is mainstream. And as part of that mainstream, Mourdock wants to outlaw all abortions. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, believes a woman who is raped should be forced to give birth to the rapist's child, and regardless of what he says, Mitt Romney agrees. His platform includes advocating the Personhood Amendment, which outlaws abortion in ALL cases, no exceptions.

Do these stand-up guys also believe that the rapist should have paternity rights? I don't know because no one has asked any of them. Maybe we should inquire.

As near as I can tell, the *states that allow rapists to seek visitation by the rapist are:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • 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

* This list is from what I can find through Google searches and court cases. Even the Guttmacher Institute was unable to give me a list, just said at least 31 states. Anyone with different results, let me know...

Women And Choices

It is estimated that 30,000 women become pregnant each year due to rape and of those, many choose abortion, yet others choose to give birth and even choose to keep the child. Women should have that choice and whatever they choose is their business and I support their decisions.

The fact that rape victims who do choose to keep their children can then be forced to share the child with the rapist is however, outrageous!

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Comments 13 comments

Sooner28 4 years ago

I'm thanking my lucky stars that Oklahoma isn't on that list.

The GOP is losing it's collective mind! This campaign is incredible. Romney is a chameleon, and people are still supporting him!

Conservatives should know he will betray them if the winds blow the right way. At least with Obama, ya know what ya gettin.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

I am shocked. By the way, insightful hub. This is totally egregious giving the rapist paternal rights. No woman should be forced to undergo an unwanted pregnancy, particularly from rape. I am totally incensed about this "law". Have the Republicans completely go loco? This is totally neanderthal in its premise!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Sorry, I meant have the Republicans completely gone loco? Again, sorry for the error!


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

I am not surprised, Jillian. Republican legislatures are just so insidious regarding their legislation. They do not care at all about women except dictating to them. Great informational Hub.


SassySue1963 4 years ago

You should take a closer look at those states. Many have entirely Democratic legislators and Democratic Governors. Many others have split legislators. Nice try with the smoke and mirrors though, attempting to say this is a GOP thing. It isn't.

In MD a bill was introduced that would prohibit rapists from seeking visitation and paternity rights. It was not passed. A completely Democratic held state. In Massachusetts, a judge sentenced a rapist to 16 years probation and ordered him to claim paternity and pay child support. In essence, granting him paternal rights. A completely Democratic held state.

Granting parental rights to rapists is actually a non-partisan issue.

As for the abortion issue, Romney has clearly stated his position. He is against abortion. He does not believe non-elected judges should decide the issue but that it should be handled at the state level by elected officials. However, there is no agenda as this author alleges, to circumvent Roe vs Wade.


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 4 years ago from California, USA Author

SassySue1963,

As for your suggestion that there is no agenda to circumvent Roe v Wade, you are wearing blinders. Not only is there an effort to circumvent Roe v Wade, there is a concerted effort on the part of Republicans to overturn Roe v Wade. Read the GOP platform. The Personhood Amendment would criminalize all abortions. Romney has said that he is in favor of the repeal of Roe v Wade.

Second, you are mistaken. I have not said that Republicans passed the laws that allow rapists to have paternity rights. Further, I have no idea when the laws for each state went into effect, or which state legislators passed them, but they are there and they are wrong, in my opinion. They may be non-partisan laws, but they serve to victimize women and children.

Couple these laws with the Republican agenda to outlaw abortion in all cases, i.e. the Personhood Amendment, it is a double whammy to any woman who may want to continue with such a pregnancy.


tussin profile image

tussin 4 years ago from Behind You

@ SassySue,

When the court orders a rapist to claim paternity, it's so that the victim can establish a basis to collect the child support she is rightly owed. That's not the same thing as paternal rights.

@ everyone else,

Yes, some states may allow rapists to file custody/visitation suits, but I've yet to see a case where a rapist was successful when the mother was not deemed an unfit parent. People fail to make the distinction between FILING a suit and WINNING a suit. Just because states allow these disgusting creeps to bring a case doesn't mean that any judges are actually buying their bullshit.

This article should provide some examples of egregious miscarriages of justice where a rapist was granted visitation rights. Is there an actual case where the rapist won??? I could not find any doing a quick Google search. Perhaps the author would like to go more in-depth to find out if any rapists are actually winning visitation rights.


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 4 years ago from California, USA Author

Dear Tussin,

Making me do my homework...thank you. Please see the following link:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/08/rapist...


SassySue1963 4 years ago

@ Tussin,

I actually had heard of a case (currently it was under appeal) where the rapist was granted visitation rights.

Yes, it was so he would have to pay child support however, it had the effect of allowing him to sue for paternal rights and visitation. As the family stated, once convicted if the judge wished to help the victim out monetarily, he should have ordered it as restitution, not child support. This particular case has not gone to court for decision yet.

@Jillian No you did not state it, I know that. It was your lead in and if you notice your first comments there, they were all about blaming that on the GOP because of the lead in.

I know about the Personhood Bill and I would agree that there is a group within the GOP aiming to overturn Roe vs Wade completely. That is not Romney's stance however. While there are organized groups with an agenda to overturn it (and they are varied ) Romney has no plan to overturn the law nor to see a Federal law banning abortion though he is against it on a personal level.


tussin profile image

tussin 4 years ago from Behind You

The rapist didn't succeed at securing any parental rights in that case. The subject of the article mentions that she "know[s] a lot of women who aren't so lucky" in challenging their rapists' parental rights suits, but no specific instances are given. I really wish the writer of that article had followed up on that off-hand comment, because it would be very eye-opening to see the court's logic in granting a convicted rapist any rights besides the "right" to pay child support.

I agree that even allowing a convicted rapist to TRY to parental rights is disgusting, but again, has any court actually sided with a convicted rapist? (Not a man who was acquitted of rape charges.)

Anyway, I do appreciate that you went digging for more info. Thanks for bringing more attention to this topic. Hopefully more states will change their laws to protect victims of rape from these ridiculous parental rights claims.


d.william profile image

d.william 4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Great article and very informative. I was not aware of these facts, but am not surprised at the idiocy of our justice system when it is run by a bunch of tired, wrinkled old men who probably were guilty of much more than rape over their life spans.

When someone questions whether any rapists' claims have been actually won or not, they are missing the whole point. It is outrageous that this country even allows such atrocious attitudes toward the rape victim. It is like being raped twice.

When we have a political party that says they want smaller government and less intrusion into private lives, then turn around and mount this war against women's rights, and the gay community, one can only imagine that those "individuals" they talk about protecting are the ones our dubious supreme court ruled the same status as a person - their buddies - the corporations.


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 4 years ago from California, USA Author

Hi, d.william,

I was shocked when I found out, too and you put it much better than I did in the article when you say: "When someone questions whether any rapists' claims have been actually won or not, they are missing the whole point. It is outrageous that this country even allows such atrocious attitudes toward the rape victim. It is like being raped twice."

A thousand times yes! The prospect of this happening must be terrifying and as pointed out in the articles I read, the threat alone can be a way of frightening women into dropping charges.


d.william profile image

d.william 4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

And that is the true testimony to a narrow minded male oriented government, judicial and justice system. I can not wait for the day a woman becomes president of the U.S.

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