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No parental rights for rapists

Arkansas is one of many states who have recently passed legislation denying parental rights to convicted rapists of any child conceived as result of the rape. The legislation passed unanimously through the Republican-controlled Arkansas House of Representatives this Tuesday, setting the bill up for passage by the Republican-controlled state Senate.

The passage of this bill aims to better protect victims of rape, while allowing the state to take a firm stance against sexual abuse. "If this bill passes the Arkansas Senate, a woman who decides to have a child that was conceived from rape will be free from having to fight custody and visitation issues with the rapist father," Arkansas state Rep., John Charles Edwards, told HuffPost.

The current bill, introduced by Edwards, contains language to have the parental rights ban kick in as soon as the rapist is convicted. Other states with similar laws have implemented varying degrees of when parental rights are to be revoked. Debates over when during the legal process should parental rights be removed have held up passage in other states and will almost undoubtedly be an issue in Arkansas as well.

So far, only nineteen other states have adopted laws prohibiting convicted rapists from seeking custody or visitation rights of a child conceived in rape. The Arkansas bill is expected to get a fair hearing in Senate during the upcoming weeks, but after the unanimous decision in the Arkansas House of Representatives lawmakers seem confident of the bill's passage.

Source: HuffPost, "Arkansas Passes Bill Stripping Rapists Of Parental Rights," John Celock, Feb. 5, 2013

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