November 19, 2017

The Wages of Genetic Entitlement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

Abstract

This Essay analyzes flaws and assumptions in the recently enacted Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. The RSCCA offers a window into the problems with defining parenthood in terms of genes instead of caretaking relationships, which is what led to the problem of rapists being able to claim parental rights in the first place. Rather than address that underlying defect in family law, the statute attempts a solution that might work if all rapists were strangers, all rapists were men, and all rape victims were women, but glosses over complicated problems of violence and coercion in relationships. Despite this failure to grapple with hard cases, the RSCCA helps us see how the biological processes of reproduction are necessarily intertwined with the definition of legal parenthood.

Author

Jennifer S. Hendricks, Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School.

Copyright 2017 by Jennifer S. Hendricks

Cite as: Jennifer S. Hendricks, The Wages of Genetic Entitlement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, 112 Nw. U. L. Rev. Online 75 (2017), http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1252&context=nulr_online&preview_mode=1&z=1511109396.