In February of 2018, Maryland passed a law that gives rape victims the power to legally terminate parental rights of their rapist. JGL attorney David Bulitt praises this new law in an editorial piece for The Daily Record.
Bulitt begins his editorial with “In a period in American history that has seen a dramatic increase in public awareness of sexual assault, it was about time Maryland finally passed a law that permits rape victims to go to court to terminate the parental rights of a rapist.”
Maryland had been one of only six states that permitted perpetrators of a sexual assault that results in pregnancy to claim parental rights concerning the child. Under the new law, a rape victim is permitted to file a civil suit against her rapist in an effort to terminate his parental rights. Like 25 of the states that allow such lawsuits, Maryland requires only that the woman prove the rape under the standard of “clear and convincing evidence.” The man need not be convicted in criminal court as long as the woman is successful in pursuing her case under the less stringent “clear and convincing” standard.
The law was approved after nine previous unsuccessful efforts in the legislature. Reflecting on its road to becoming a law, Bulitt says, “I have little doubt that current social changes, in which society is becoming more sensitive to women’s claims of sexual assault and harassment, had something to do with this bill’s passage after more than a decade. And it did not go unnoticed, when the bill fell just short of approval in the final hours of last year’s session, the conference committee that failed to reach agreement on the details of the bill was composed entirely of men. This appearance of insensitivity to women’s rights was a factor that stirred leaders of both legislative chambers to make it a priority in 2018.”
To read the rest of the article, click on The Daily Record logo below.
David Bulitt is a family lawyer, and JGL’s Assistant Managing Director. For years, David has been included amongst the DC area’s top divorce lawyers and is a published author.