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PROTESTORS AT A RALLY AGAINST ONE OF THE NATION'S MOST RESTRICTIVE BANS ON ABORTION ON MAY 19, 2019, IN MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA. (PHOTO BY JULIE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES)

Fallout

In Alabama — where lawmakers banned abortion for rape victims — rapists have parental rights

By WITW Staff on June 13, 2019

Alabama’s passage of a law banning most abortions in the state — with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest — has brought renewed attention to a prior decision by state lawmakers to grant rapists parental rights over the children of their victims, The Washington Post reports, making Alabama one of just two states to do so.

The Alabama abortion law has been challenged in court, but abortion rights activists fear it could reduce access to abortion services, forcing rape victims to have children and co-parent with their rapists, according to the Post.

State lawmakers in Alabama last month considered a bill that addressed ending parental rights in cases of rape that result in conception, but the legislature removed that language, the Post reports, limiting the law to cases in which people sexually assault their own children.

Minnesota is the only other state with no law terminating parental rights in rape cases, according to the Post.

More than half of the 50 states use a “clear and convincing evidence” standard, defined as evidence that is “highly and substantially more likely to be true than not,” according to the Post. Nearly half of states require a rape conviction to terminate parental rights. Several states allow either standard.

Activists argue that the conviction standard is too high, as three out of four rapes in the U.S. go unreported, the Post reports, citing an analysis by the nonprofit advocacy group Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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