File this under shocking: until recently, Florida had no laws preventing
rapists from seeking
custody of a child conceived during an attack. It sounds like a nightmare: a woman
is raped, finds out she is pregnant as a result of the rape, and then
can’t guarantee to be rid of the rapist if she decides to keep the baby.
Analyn Megison lived that nightmare. She decided to keep the baby conceived
during her rape, and then her rapist sought custody. At the time, Florida
had no laws protecting her from this situation. Megison was shocked. She
learned that a few states did have laws in place, but all required a rape
conviction (Megison’s rapist was never convicted).
Megison worked tirelessly, co-founding Hope After Rape Conception (HARC)
and contacting Florida legislative members. Her goal is for all states,
beginning with Florida, to have laws in place that terminate parental
rights of rapists using the “clear and convincing evidence”
standard from the U.S. Supreme Court case of Santosky v Kramer, rather
than requiring a rape conviction. Her hard work paid off: Florida unanimously
approved a law that became the basis for the federal legislation. Other
states are currently working to pass this law as well. Her work is not
done yet, though; many states still have nothing at all.
It’s hard to believe that until recently, there were no Florida laws
in place preventing a rape victim’s child from being forced into
a relationship with their biological father if the father sought custody.
In Megison’s case, she was told that her rapist had biological rights
to his child just as any biological father in Florida would. Was this
really in the best interest of the child? Megison certainly didn’t
think so. Her outrage and disbelief motivated her to act, and as a result,
pregnant rape survivors in Florida now have protection from their rapists.
Read the original articlehere.