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Rapists would lose parental rights in Washington under bill

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 27, 2017

OLYMPIA – A rape victim who becomes pregnant would have an easier time terminating the paternity rights of her attacker under a bill that received near unanimous support in the House on Monday.

On a 94-2 vote, lawmakers sent to the Senate a bill that creates a court process to restrict parental rights of a rapist even while establishing child support obligations.

It also changes state law so that the rapist’s consent is not required for the adoption of that child.

One woman in five will be a victim of sexual assault at one point in their lives, and those who become pregnant face tremendous hurdles terminating paternity rights, said Rep. Beth Doglio, D-Olympia.

“No woman should be forced to co-parent with her rapist,” Doglio said.

The court could terminate paternity rights when there’s a conviction for sexual assault for a child born within 320 days of the assault or for “clear, cogent and convincing evidence” that the person committed a sexual assault within that period.

Under the proposal, the rapist could still be ordered to pay child support and birth-related costs if the mother or legal guardian seeks it.

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