Maryland ends parental rights of rapists who impregnate

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signs a bill into law that enables women impregnated by rapists to end the parental rights of their attacker during a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is seated left of Hogan, and House Speaker Michael Busch is to the right. Sen. Brian Feldman and Del. Kathleen Dumais, the leading bill sponsors, are standing behind the governor. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Maryland women impregnated by rapists have new legal power to end the parental rights of their attacker, under a new law signed by Gov. Larry Hogan.

Hogan signed it Tuesday, putting the emergency legislation passed unanimously into effect immediately.

Advocates have been pushing for the bill for about a decade. The woman must provide "clear and convincing" proof that the man raped her. That is lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold needed for criminal convictions. Some civil liberties-minded lawmakers had opposed the idea, to avoid revoking the rights of people who have not been convicted of a crime.

Supporters credited a growing sense of female empowerment for making the issue a priority this year. About 45 states and the District of Columbia limit parental rights of rapists.

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