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Ohio Considers Bill Denying Convicted Rapists Ability to Claim Custody of Child

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Some state lawmakers are backing a bill that would deny parental rights to the parent of a child who was conceived as a result of a rape.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Democratic State Rep. Nickie Antonio says the need for this bill was brought to life in Ohio when Amanda Berry, one of the three women held hostage for 10 years in Cleveland, was faced with the possibility that the man who kidnapped and repeatedly raped her could have legally been able to get visiting rights for the child he had fathered with her.

"Ohio law currently only allows if there is a conviction of rape or a guilty plea -- only allows a woman to then independently make the decision to give her child up for adoption," Antonio said. "Or she still has the ability today to terminate the pregnancy. But this third option of raising her child, she does not have the assurances that she won’t get into a custody battle with her rapist potentially."

The bill would still mandate that the convicted rapist would have to provide child support, even if he couldn’t legally visit or parent the child. There is bipartisan support for the bill. And both abortion opponents and abortion rights activists are backing the proposal.

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