Under Indiana law, biological parents are entitled to rights of visitation with their children. Absent marriage, once paternity is established, a biological father even may seek change of custody if he can convince the trial court that the mother is, in some way, unfit.
Maybe I missed something in the statutes and the guidelines for visitation, but there is "no exception for rape." No—I do not use this phrase in the context of laws that relate to abortion. I use the phrase as to child custody and support.
The Republican Party has adopted as part of its platform a provision that it opposes abortion in all cases, even rape and incest.
Perhaps this is an understatement: it would be a gross indignity to force a woman to bring to term a fetus that resulted from rape. Each day she would be reminded of the horrendous event by which she became pregnant. She would have morning sickness ans swings of mood. There are some people—even in the 21st Century, imagine that—who view an unmarried, pregnant woman with disdain. Then there are the expenses she would have to pay, for prenatal care. There would be the really big expense of delivery of—what Rick Santorum called a gift from god, in the context of rape—the baby.
Perhaps the rapist—let’s call him "R"—gets convicted. Perhaps he gets out after five (5) years because the offense was deemed to be a Class-B felony and he received the statutory advisory sentence of ten (10) years.
R has found the Lord (maybe Voldemort) while in the DOC. He is devout in his beliefs. He files an action for visitation with his child. The fact he is a convicted felony no doubt would play a part in the court’s formulation as to whether visitation should be supervised or unsupervised. The law, however, is clear. He is entitled to visitation because he is a biological parent.
Visitations are monitored. R is reported, by the persons who monitor the visitations, as appropriate in the manner in which he interacts with the child. He petitions for unsupervised visitation. The trial court would be hard-pressed to refuse. After all, the rape had nothing to do with abuse of a child. After a few months of unsupervised visitation going well, the trial court grants R’s petition for some overnight visits. The Family Case Manager (FCM) for Department of Child Services (DCS) even has to acknowledge this is the next, natural step in the process. R also gets a split of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Father’s Day is set aside especially for him.
R and his relatives are wily. For purposes of this hypothetical, they all reside in the same area as the mother. On a couple of nights during which R has overnight visitation, the mother goes out for drinks with friends. The relatives are on it. They shoot photos of the mother as mother consumes alcoholic beverages. Next comes father’s petition for modification of custody, payment of support by mother, and imposition of restrictions on visitation by mother so that such visitation is supervised. If mother falls behind on support, she might face jail time for contempt or violation of the statute that requires support for a dependent.
And she faces all this because she was raped and could not abort the fetus.
This may sound far-fetched. If someone can cite a statute, guideline for visitation, or Indiana appellate court case that would prohibit any of this, please let me know. The case law addresses past criminal history that indicates a threat to the well-being of the child. Rape of an adult does not indicate danger to a child. R’s rights as a parent have been recognized as protected by the 14th Amendment. And all that DCS stuff happens all the time.
Election of Romney/Ryan would be worse for this country than was the election of W and Cheney.