31 states allow rapist to sue for custody/visitation
The lord works in mysterious ways....first he wills you to be raped, doesn't let your body automatically purge itself of the child, then the state lets the rapist sue for custody and/or visitation rights.
How would that make you feel being required to share the kid with someone who raped you, your daughter, or other family member??
In the wake of Todd Akin's comments about pregnancy rarely resulting from "legitimate rape
," lawyer Shauna Prewitt highlights a reality for women in that situation in a column on CNN
: In a majority of states, attackers are afforded the same rights as other fathers.
Prewitt, herself a rape survivor who gave birth to a daughter
as a result of her attack, explains that 31 states have no laws that bar rapists from seeking custody or visitation rights. For Prewitt that astounding fact is personal. Her rapist attempted to get custody of her daughter,
"but thankfully I got lucky and his visitation rights were terminated," she said, according to a profile of her by The Am Law Daily's Brain Baxter
. She added: "I'm not sure I would have made the decision I did had I known I might be tethered to my rapist for the rest of my life."
In a paper published in the The Georgetown Law Journal in 2010
— when the number of states without such laws were even greater — Prewitt argued that the absence "stems from the images and other societal rhetoric that depict the prototypical raped woman as hating her unborn child and as viewing her rape pregnancy as continuing her rape trauma." In her CNN piece
, she blames it on "ignorance": Some believe that women don't raise children conceived from rape, others can't fathom a rapist wanting parental rights.
You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter, life would be all roses and endless days at the playground. I was wrong again.
It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states -- 31 -- men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.