Children conceived from rape: Legislation, parental rights and outcomes for victims

Connie J. Beck, Laila Alshami, Melissa M. de la Luz, Andrea N. Camacho de Anda, Heather J. Kendall, Elizabeth S. Rosati, Margaret C. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately 5% of women who are victims of rape become pregnant, and approximately 32% of those women choose to raise their child. Many of the rapists are known to the victims and the victims who conceive often experience multiple rapes and pregnancies. Several states allow termination of parental rights of rapists but only after criminal convictions, which are nearly impossible to obtain. Without criminal convictions and termination of parental rights, family courts are ordering victim mothers to parent their children with their rapists. This article provides an overview of the state statutes regarding the termination of parental rights of rapists and the psychological and health impacts on the victims and their children. This article concludes discussing possible legislative remedies for victim mothers that will make the justice system process easier for and more accessible to these hidden families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child Custody
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Child custody
  • mental health
  • parenting rights
  • policy
  • rape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Law


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