December 12, 2007

 

Taylor Applauds Assembly Action on Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Bill

MADISON – Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) today commended members of the State Assembly for passing crucial amendments to Assembly Bill 377.  As amended, the bill requires hospitals to provide emergency services to victims of sexual assault.  Taylor is the second author of Senate Bill 129, the Senate companion legislation to Assembly Bill 377.

“Sexual assault is an extremely traumatic experience,” said Taylor. “We need to ensure that our hospitals are sensitive to victims’ needs and that they don’t compound the injuries already done by denying these women the services necessary to cope.  The amended version of Assembly Bill 377 is a great step forward in this regard.”

Prior to amendment, Assembly Bill 377 included a ‘Conscience Clause’, under which medical service providers could opt out of the legislation’s requirements if adhering to the bill went against their personal beliefs.  The clause would have effectively gutted the legislation, drastically limiting the bill’s power to compel doctors and hospitals to administer birth control to victims of sexual assault.  Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 removed the ‘Conscience Clause’ from the bill, safeguarding rape victims’ right to emergency contraception.

“Thanks to last night’s bipartisan effort in the Assembly, the women of our state are a step closer to the strong Compassionate Care legislation they deserve,” Taylor commented. “It’s inspiring to see lawmakers from both sides of the aisle come together and commit to making positive change for our citizens.  As second author of the Senate version of this bill, as a woman, and as a Wisconsin citizen, I applaud the conviction displayed by those who voted for a truly effective version of Assembly Bill 377.”

The Senate companion to Assembly Bill 377 was passed by that body in mid-May by a vote of 27-6.  Due to procedural requirements, however, it is unlikely that the amended version of Assembly Bill 377 will be voted on for passage prior to next month.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that the Assembly act quickly to pass this bill,” Taylor closed. “Sexual assault is an all-too-common reality in our communities, and we need to ensure that society is as responsive to its effects as possible.  This bill, with its widespread support, is an opportunity that we shouldn’t wait around on.”