HB1/SB2 provides that if a child is born as a result of a rape - referred to as "nonconsensual sexual conduct" out of concern that the bill not have criminal implications - the parental rights of the assailant will be terminated. This means that if the mother makes an adoption plan, the rapist will be excluded from participation in the adoption process. If the mother chooses to raise the child, the rapist would be prevented from being awarded custody or visitation except in limited circumstances where supervised visitation is determined to be in the best interests of the child.
Under HB1/SB2, the standard to decide whether the rape occurred and whether to terminate the rapist's parental rights is "clear and convincing evidence" that the child was conceived through rape. This standard of evidence is higher than the normal civil standard-"by a preponderance of the evidence"-and is used in all other family law contexts for the judicial termination of parental rights. It would be disrespectful of rape victims to require a conviction as a standard in these cases because rape victims should have to meet the same standard used in other termination of parental rights cases-no more, no less.
The Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW) is a statewide coalition of women's groups and individuals formed to provide a non-partisan, independent, voice for Maryland women and families. The group advocates for progressive legislation and policy that promotes and protects the well being of Maryland women and their families and provides them opportunities to develop their full potential.
Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women
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Towson, Maryland 21204