Sharia court orders jail for rape victim unless kids handed to rapist. Wait…I meant Alabama.

A young woman from Birmingham, Alabama was raped and impregnated four times by her uncle. She was just 12-years old when the raping started: her mother’s half-brother would constantly climb in her bed. She endured this hell for years:

Raped at 14, she miscarried.

Raped at 16, she gave birth to a baby boy.

Raped at 18, she gave birth, but her child died from a disease common to incest cases.

Raped at 19, she gave birth to her second son.

Despite the DNA evidence, her uncle was never convicted of rape. It wouldn’t matter if he was anyway. In Alabama, a rapist is entitled to visitation rights, and can even sue for custody. It’s one of only two states that allow this.

However, this horror takes on new meaning in Alabama, because last month the state passed a law outlawing the destruction of embryos for ALL victims of sexual assault. The law even prescribes jail for doctors who perform the procedure. In fact, the only exception to the law is given to in vitro fertilization labs, which routinely  destroys tons of fertilized eggs; yet this is deemed okay because rich, white Christian women use them. And also because f*** you. 

Now that abortion is outlawed for all rape survivors in Alabama, the survivor is forced to bear child. At the very least, you’d think the lawmakers would fix the loophole (assuming it even is a loophole) that would allow the rapist custody and visitation. Well, actually, one Alabama lawmaker did try to do just that by introducing a bill to terminate the parental rights of rapists.  Unfortunately, this being Alabama, “pro-life” lawmakers amended the bill to only pertain only to people who rape their OWN children and require that the rapist be convicted of first-degree rape.

Alabama lawmakers prattled on about how the first-degree rape conviction is needed to prevent fraud and abuse.  Much like their “voting fraud” claim, it’s all fake. Yet lawmakers failed to explain why multiple lessor offenses can terminate parental rights in Alabama without a conviction. Drug use and neglect, for example, only require “clear and convincing evidence”; but not rape.  

These lawmakers obsessed with protecting the rapist either didn’t know or didn’t care that their actions only encourage women to seek abortion, since they now know that their ordeal won’t end when the rape is over. These monsters, on the other hand, have it pretty good: they get to choose the mother of their children regardless of whether she consents or not, the woman will be forced to bear child, and it will be entirely up to the rapist how involved he will be in his victim’s life.

For this one particular young woman in Birmingham, it’s already been a nightmare

“It’s sickening. I’ve spent my entire life scared to death of my rapist, and now, I’m fighting him for custody of my children.”

Even though she was the one who was violently and sexually violated, the criminal is the one calling the shots—and the only jail time being threatened has been directed at the victim:

The man that raped Jessica still has visitation rights to her two children. The judge told Jessica she'd have to spend 48 hours in jail for each visit she denied her rapist.

Even Florida isn’t this backwards—anymore, at least.  In 2010, a Florida woman’s rapist tried to get full custody of her child. Thankfully, she got a sane judge who was interested in the circumstances in how the child was conceived. The woman, Analyn Megison, went on a crusade to convince Florida lawmakers to pass protection for rape survivors. President Obama even signed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which gave states federal funding for rape victim advocacy programs if those states pass a similar law not requiring criminal conviction.

Alabama passed on that.

Terminating parental rights for rapists is too cruel, according to the Alabama GOP.  They only want to terminate parental rights for truly terrible crimes—like being a Guatemalan immigrant coming here with her toddler to escape violence.

Conservatives are a sick bunch. Putting on a robe doesn’t always mean they rise to the occasion. Case in point: Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the Alabama SCOTUS. He was a credibly accused child molester who often sided with the defendants in child rape and other sex crime cases.  I’d say avoid this state altogether, but the problem isn’t just in Alabama. It’s other GOP-dominated legislatures.

In Nebraska, a young woman was violently attacked and her rapist was charged with first-degree sexual assault; however, he was allowed to plead to a lesser charge of third-degree sexual assault. In Nebraska, this protects his parental rights:

“Now, I have to text my rapist or email my rapist. To leave my daughter with someone I didn't trust. (I'm) forced to parent with him and to see him on a weekly basis … to talk to him about my daughter's school activities and her health.”

Ohio is another state that requires a conviction to terminate parental rights. Their recent “heartbeat” law brought attention to the state because an 11-year old child, who was raped and impregnated by a 26-year old, is now forced to bear the rapist’s child.  

For all the fear the GOP has of Islamic courts and Sharia law, they seem to be perfectly fine with subjugating women.

The problem for the rest of us isn’t these backwards states dominated by GOP legislators. Keep in mind what Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have been 100% focused on doing: putting right-wing conservative, misogynist judges on the bench for lifetime seats at every level.  A third of judicial appointments have now been hand-picked by Trump, and they are frightening.  One new judge blamed women for their own rape, another compared abortion to slavery, and yet another said birth control is an assault on religious liberty.  If you think this can’t happen in your state, think again.

I get irritated when I hear Democrats and Independents say they will consider “moderate” GOP candidates. These candidates are in the mold of Susan Collins of Maine: they’ll decry what is happening, but will always vote to confirm the monsters who are making it possible. 

These horrible stories aren’t just anomalies in red states, but rather the end game of what the GOP wants for the rest of us.

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