Congress finds the following:
Men who father children through rape should be prohibited from visiting or having custody of those children.
A substantial number of women choose to raise their child conceived through rape and, as a result, may face custody battles with their rapists.
Rape is one of the most under-prosecuted serious crimes, with estimates of criminal conviction occurring in less than 5 percent of rapes.
The clear and convincing evidence standard is the most common standard for termination of parental rights among the 50 States, territories, and the District of Columbia.
The Supreme Court established that the clear and convincing evidence standard satisfies due process for allegations to terminate or restrict parental rights in Santosky v. Kramer (455 U.S. 745 (1982)).
Currently only 10 States have statutes allowing rape survivors to petition for the termination of parental rights of the rapist based on clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived through rape.
A rapist pursuing parental or custody rights causes the survivor to have continued interaction with the rapist, which can have traumatic psychological effects on the survivor, and can make it more difficult for her to recover.
These traumatic effects on the mother can severely negatively impact her ability to raise a healthy child.
Rapists may use the threat of pursuing custody or parental rights to coerce survivors into not prosecuting rape, or otherwise harass, intimidate, or manipulate them.
(Pub. L. 114–22, title IV, § 403, May 29, 2015, 129 Stat. 256.)