A new Alabama law requires judges to prohibit the parental rights of residents convicted of first-degree rape and certain sex crimes. The piece of legislation now closes a legal window that previously allowed rapists custody of their children, which were conceived through sexual assault.
News of the law comes a little more than a month after the state passed one of the nation’s strictest anti-abortion laws, only allowing a woman to terminate her pregnancy in cases of rape and or incest. The mandate is reportedly part of a new statue titled Jessi’s Law.
However, phrasing found inside the 10-page legal text has pro-choice activists concerned. For anyone found guilty of rape and certain sex crimes, their rights as parents are forfeited, yet many have argued that countless rapes and sexual assaults go unreported, and if they are told to authorities, getting a conviction is difficult to do.
Activist think judges in Alabama should end custody if “‘clear and convincing evidence’’ proves a sexual assault took place. This is the standard used in many states according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The law was named after an Alabama girl named Jessi who was raped by her biological father. Jessi’s Law will go into effect Sept. 1.