Should Rapists Get Custody of Their Children When a Raped Woman Rejects Abortion?

Opinion   |   Analyn Megison   |   Mar 24, 2015   |   3:56PM   |   Washington, DC

My precious daughter was conceived in rape, and I am grateful for her life and the loving amazing person she is. It is my love for my daughter which motivates me to do all that I can for her and all children who are conceived in rape to be in a different and better world than we are in today.

Life is precious. Yes…she is absolutely worth it.

It is with deep heartfelt gratitude that I am here to share that the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which died in Committee on New Year’s Eve last year, has been reintroduced into Congress on March 4, 2015 as HR 1257.

I’m one of the original co-founders of Hope After Rape Conception (HARC.) We came up with model legislation through HARC with the “clear and convincing evidence” standard which the U.S. Supreme Court has required for terminating parental rights. This means that a woman who becomes pregnant through rape has the same legal standard to terminate the parental rights of the rapist as everyone else who seeks termination of parental rights.



Therefore, she will not be unfairly discriminated against in the law simply because she chose life and gave birth to her child. Every pro-life organization needs to be behind our model legislation, making it a legislative priority in states throughout our great nation.

This model law is pro-life because if pregnant rape victims know that their State protects them from the rapist having parental rights, they will be less likely to choose abortion or be forced or coerced into having an abortion.

What is more terrifying than your rapist seeking to use your love for your child as his weapon? It is time to remove power from the rapist to intimidate her with the threat of visitation or any custodial rights in family court because she did not seek an abortion after becoming pregnant from rape. Logically, the legislation if passed into law provides her that freedom to choose life. This is a tremendous opportunity for 100% pro-life legislators to show how much concern they have for pregnant rape victims — by protecting them from the rapist.

Now in 2015 is pending legislation recently introduced in New Mexico and Nebraska to pass the HARC model legislation as well…with the same “clear and convincing evidence standard as we have as the law here in Florida.

After the state law was passed in Florida in 2013, it became the state that not only had the model legislation we were seeking nationally through Hope After Rape Conception, but Florida is also where the first federal legislation on this issue originated: Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz proposed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, echoing the Florida law, with the clear and convincing evidence standard. And just like at the state level, she immediately reached across party lines and had a co-sponsor from the Republican side, U.S. Representative Marino.

I continued to stay in contact with Florida Congresswoman’s office and remained assured that this legislation would be reintroduced soon. On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 I heard from Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office that she was reintroducing the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act the next day to Congress. I quickly contacted the rest of our board at Hope After Rape Conception about the good news. S

o on March 4, 2015 HR 1257 Rape Survivor Child Custody Act was reintroduced by the Congresswoman with the support of 17 original cosponsors to the bill, and it is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. I also immediately called the office of Representative Marino ( R ) in Pennsylvania to share my gratitude that he remained strong in support of this common sense bipartisan legislation from the very beginning. As of now, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act has a total of 23 cosponsors.


This bill is an incentive to the states to pass the legislation for terminating parental rights of rapists using the clear and convincing evidence standard, just like we now have in Florida. In Florida it was passed here with unanimous bipartisan support. Our Florida law is the model law for Hope After Rape Conception. This is a huge step forward for women who choose life for their child when that child was conceived as a result of rape.

HR1257 is an incentive to states to pass laws for terminating the parental rights of men who father a child through an act of rape using the clear and convincing evidence standard, because if passed into Federal law: “ To direct the Attorney General to make grants to States that have in place laws that terminate the parental rights of men who father children through rape.”

Here is a list of the HR 1257 original cosponsors:


17 cosponsors (14D, 3R) (show)

Carson, André [D-IN7]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Cohen, Steve [D-TN9]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Frankel, Lois [D-FL22]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Fudge, Marcia [D-OH11]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Honda, Michael “Mike” [D-CA17]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Israel, Steve [D-NY3]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Joyce, David [R-OH14]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Lowenthal, Alan [D-CA47]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Marino, Tom [R-PA10]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

McDermott, Jim [D-WA7]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Meehan, Patrick [R-PA7]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Moore, Gwen [D-WI4]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Napolitano, Grace [D-CA32]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Price, David [D-NC4]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Rangel, Charles “Charlie” [D-NY13]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Takano, Mark [D-CA41]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Tonko, Paul [D-NY20]

(joined Mar 4, 2015)

Also, the companion bill in the Senate will be reintroduced by Senator Sherod Brown (D) OH who announced on March 11 his intent to reintroduce the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act on the Senate side. (video clip here)

I encourage you to stand in solidarity with women who choose life. Please reach out to your representative in Congress so that women who choose life for their child and reject abortion after being raped are provided equal protection under the law.

And if you are a member of Congress reading this who calls yourself Pro-Life I ask…is your name on this list yet? If not, I sincerely hope to see you there soon.

LifeNews: Analyn Megison is a co-founder / Board Member of Hope After Rape Conception –, and a blogger for Save The 1.  She’s a graduate of Florida State University College of Law and a rape survivor who fought her rapist for custody of her daughter.  In her second year of law school, she was a visiting student at Georgetown University Law Center and interned with a federal judge in Washington, D.C..    She was appointed as the Special Assistant on Women’s Policy for the Office of  the Governor of Louisiana, and she currently serves on a Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force in Florida.  Analyn is married, living in Florida with her husband and children.