Where rapists can gain parental rights

If a child is conceived through sexual assault, the rules vary widely on the parental rights of the attacker.

(CNN)It's an almost unimaginable scenario: a victim of rape being forced to face her attacker over custody rights for a child conceived during an assault.

"Almost" is the key word, because it's a situation that can easily happen in states across the United States. The shorthand for this occurrence is often referred to as "parental rights for rapists," a phrase that's mind-boggling but accurate in its representation of the issue.
Without any legislation stopping a sexual assailant from claiming parental rights of a child, individuals are free and clear to pursue custody or visitation rights of their biological offspring.

The big picture of how parental rights for rapists are treated across the US

Seven states don't have any laws preventing a rapist from claiming parental rights, but that's not to say that these states are oblivious to the issue. Maryland, for one, has been working for years to pass a law that would allow a rape victim to terminate her attacker's parental rights.