Maryland women impregnated by rapists have new legal power to end the parental rights of their attacker, under a new law signed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan signed it Tuesday, putting the emergency legislation passed unanimously into effect immediately.
“Our administration made a commitment to work with legislative leaders to pass this important and long overdue legislation, and today, I am proud to sign this bill into law,” said Governor Hogan.
“No rapist should be allowed to maintain their rights as a parent, and no victim should ever be forced to interact with their attacker. The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act will ensure just that."
Advocates have been pushing for the bill for about a decade. The woman must provide "clear and convincing" proof that the man raped her. That is lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold needed for criminal convictions. Some civil liberties-minded lawmakers had opposed the idea, to avoid revoking the rights of people who have not been convicted of a crime.
Supporters credited a growing sense of female empowerment for making the issue a priority this year. About 45 states and the District of Columbia limit parental rights of rapists,