Jones bill to block a rapist’s paternity action sent to governor

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — A rape victim may soon be able to stop her rapist from being legally acknowledged as the father of a child resulting of the rape under a Sen. Rick Jones bill on its way to the governor’s desk.

“Rape is usually not about sex; it’s about control and power. That is part of the reason why it’s so sickening that a rapist would seek access to a child conceived in his rape of the mother,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I sponsored this bill to ensure that a rapist will not be recognized as the father of a child resulting from his criminal act and that he will have no say in the child’s upbringing.”

Legislation enacted in 2012 to give biological fathers more rights to their children included a reform to provide certain people, such as an alleged biological father of a child born to a married woman, a chance to be acknowledged as the child’s father.

The Michigan Senate on Tuesday enrolled Senate Bill 858, which would make an exception in the law for a situation where a child was conceived as a result of rape or criminal sexual conduct and the biological father then seeks to be acknowledged as the father.

Under the bill, a mother who provides clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived as a result of a rape can bring an action to revoke an acknowledgement of parentage of an alleged father.

“While parental rights can already be terminated after conviction of rape, women often don’t press charges against their assailants,” Jones said. “This measure would enable a victim to block her rapist’s parental claims using a similar standard to those already used for domestic abuse. I am proud that the Legislature has stood up for survivors of rape, and I look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law.”