Rapists whose victims give birth to a child would be barred from seeking custody under a bill passed unanimously Thursday by the Kentucky Senate.
While rapists would still be required to provide child support for children born to their victims, the Associated Press reported, they would not be allowed to inherit property from those children.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Sara Beth Gregory (R-Monticello), said the measure was inspired by national stories about custody battles between women and their attackers.
“I think most people are surprised to learn that under current Kentucky law a mother who’s been a rape victim and the child can be subjected to years of a court battle with the convicted rapist father over custody and visitation rights with regard to the child,” Gregory said.
No senators spoke to oppose the measure, which passed 38-0 and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Gregory said a similar bill had already passed the House, and she hoped the differences could quickly be worked out.
Rapists may sue for custody of children born to their victims in 30 states.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) filed the Rape Survivor Custody Act last year that would provide grant incentives for legal action at the state level to help women secure full custody of children conceived through rape.
But that measure remains in committee and is not expected to pass.
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