Maryland women impregnated by rapists have new legal power to end the parental rights of their attacker, under a new law signed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan signed it Tuesday, putting the emergency legislation passed unanimously into effect immediately.
Advocates have been pushing for the bill for about a decade. The woman must provide "clear and convincing" proof that the man raped her. That is lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold needed for criminal convictions. Some civil liberties-minded lawmakers had opposed the idea, to avoid revoking the rights of people who have not been convicted of a crime.
Supporters credited a growing sense of female empowerment for making the issue a priority this year. About 45 states and the District of Columbia limit parental rights of rapists.