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Hogan backs bill to strip parental rights from rapists

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan announced his support Friday for a bill that would allow a woman who gets pregnant after being sexually assaulted or raped to strip her attacker of parental rights. The leaders of both the House of Delegates and the state Senate are co-sponsoring the legislation.

As far back as 2007, Del. Kathleen Dumais, a Democrat who represents part of Montgomery County, has been sponsoring a version of this bill, but it has consistently failed. Last year, it came close, but the legislature ran out of time on the last day of the session.

Hogan said it should be the first thing lawmakers tackle when they return to Annapolis next week. He pledged to sign it when it gets to his desk.

“No rapist should be allowed to maintain their right as a parent, and no victim should ever be forced to interact with their attacker,” he said.

The bill has been controversial in the past because it doesn’t require a criminal conviction to take away parental rights. But Dumais emphasized that the bill simply creates a process through which a judge can make the decision.

Twenty-four other states already have something similar.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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