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Bill to terminate a rapist’s parental rights heads to governor’s desk 

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Bill to terminate a rapist’s parental rights heads to governor’s desk 

Feb 28, 2024 | 1:50 pm ET
By Kyle Dunphey
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Bill to terminate a rapist’s parental rights heads to governor’s desk 
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The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. (Photo by Spenser Heaps for Utah News Dispatch)

Survivors could soon have an avenue to terminate the parental rights their abuser has over a child conceived in sexual assault under a bill the Utah Legislature has approved.

Courts can limit custody that a convicted rapist has over a child conceived through a sexual assault — but Utah law currently doesn’t allow for the survivor to fully terminate those rights. HB328 would codify a court’s ability to do that. 

“This is just giving that person who’s been violated, who’s been raped and a child has been conceived, a process for terminating those rights,” the bill’s sponsor House Minority Leader Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said on the House floor.  

The bill received unanimous support in both the House and Senate. On Wednesday morning it received final legislative approval from the House and is now headed to Gov. Spencer Cox’s desk. 

HB328 extends the state’s timeline for keeping sexual assault kits, in some cases 20 years from the “day on which the biological evidence is collected.” It also allows for survivors to submit a written request that authorities retain a sexual assault kit for additional time. If the agency decides to dispose of the kit, they would be required to notify the victim. 

It’s part of a larger effort to “track what happened to their case from law enforcement to what happens when the prosecution receives it and what they can do,” Romero said.