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Quebec bill aims to protect rape victims from forced paternity tests


Quebec's justice minister tabled a new bill Thursday that would deny rapists the right to demand paternity tests for any children born of their crimes.

In explaining Bill 12, Simon Jolin-Barrette said rape victims who gave birth to a child as a result of the crime can oppose a paternity request.

"Now the mother of the child that comes from that [rape] will be able to get an opposition to the paternity of the child," said Jolin-Barrette.

The justice minister said he was partly motivated to table the bill because of the case of "Oceane," a woman who came forward in 2022 after the man convicted of raping of her sought to claim paternity of the child.

"Everybody in Quebec was shocked last summer when we heard that a guy raped a girl and asked to be recognized as his father," he said. "Right now, in the civil code, the courts didn't have a choice."

He said that the tribunal is currently required to recognize when a rapist is the proven father of a child.

"To declare you as a father," said Jolin-Barrette. "We don't want that to happen again, so we changed the law... We gave clearly the choice to the mother... The mother will be able to say, 'No, I don't want that guy to be involved in the life of my child.'"

The law extends to victims of domestic sexual assault. Jolin-Barrette explained that if a woman is raped in a domestic setting, they can apply to sever ties between the father and child, even if the man is legally considered the child's father.

"So long as it's in the interest of the child," he said. 

The bill also would require the sexual aggressor to pay the mother for the child's needs from birth until adulthood.

The child would also be able to legally inherit wealth from the aggressor's estate once he dies.


The bill also closes a loophole in the province's surrogacy laws, the justice minister said.

"Right now, there was a hole in the law because if there are parents who want to do surrogacy [and] didn't take the kid at the end, there were no rights for the kid," Jolin-Barrette said. "We want to be sure that the kid will have all the food, the lodgings to protect him."

The bill also gives the child born to surrogacy the right to know their origin.

"That's an important right to know where you are coming from," said Simon-Jollette. Top Stories

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