State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) applauded the Ohio House of Representatives’ passage of House Bill 257, legislation that gives women more control over parental rights if their child was conceived as a result of rape or sexual battery.

House Bill 257 provides victims of rape an essential tool to ensure that they have exclusive parental rights over their child, concurrently taking away the ability of a perpetrator to cause continuous emotional harm to the victim. Specifically, the legislation:
• Allows the mother of a child alleging that the child was conceived as a result of a sexual crime to bring an action to declare the father to be the parent of the child as a result of rape or sexual battery.
• Requires the court to declare that the father is the parent of a child conceived as a result of rape or sexual battery if the mother proves that she was a victim of a sexual crime caused by the father, and that the child was conceived by this act.
• Prohibits the courts from granting parental rights to the father if he is declared to have committed the rape or sexual battery and terminates all prior orders granting parental rights to the father regarding that child.
• Authorizes a juvenile court to grant permanent custody of a child to a public children services agency or private child placing agency that files a motion for permanent custody of the child if the court determines at the hearing, by clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interest of the child to grant permanent custody to the agency.

"The best interest of the child, both physically and emotionally, along with the mom's needs are important to respect," said Representative Anielski. "Granting parental rights to the mom and prohibiting the convicted felon from receiving those same rights is the right thing to do."

House Bill 257 passed unanimously and will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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