For years, a terrible scandal about children conceived in rape was that parental rights laws did not consider situations when the conception was not consensual. That meant the rapist could request, and receive, full parental rights if the child was brought to term. At times this was used by rapists and their lawyers to pressure women bringing charges to abort their children, by threatening to file for parental rights, thus keeping the rapist in the woman’s life through the child.
This injustice was rectified by the Michigan Legislature recently. House Bill 4481 and Senate Bill 629 were passed and reconciled, and sent to Governor Snyder to be signed into law on May 3rd, 2016. Under this law, women can have the parental rights of rapists terminated using much more reasonable criteria. This will remove this lever that has been used to pressure women, and enable them to escape further difficulties in an already difficult situation.
Further details about the bill can be found on Right to Life of Michigan’s website here.
Area legislators Rep Andrea LaFontaine, Rep Dan Lauwers, and Sen Phil Pavlov voted for the bill. Rep Muxlow supported the bill but was unable to vote for it being disabled by a serious accident at the time the vote was taken in the House. We thank all our area legislators for their staunch pro-life support. It is our hope that Michigan’s new law will prove an example for other states to implement.