January 23, 2008
Taylor Praises Assembly Passage of Compassionate Care Bill
MADISON – On Wednesday, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 377 (AB 377), Compassionate Care for Rape Victims. Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), the bill’s second Senate author, applauded the vote and promised that the Senate would take the measure up as soon as possible.
“This legislation,” said Taylor, “is too important to wait around on. Too many women are depending on it. I am absolutely committed to getting it passed in the Senate as soon as possible.”
AB 377 requires hospitals that provide emergency services to sexual assault victims to inform the victim of her right to emergency contraception and to provide emergency contraception upon request. Under the bill, hospitals may only refuse to provide emergency contraception if the sexual assault victim is pregnant, as indicated by a pregnancy test. Hospitals that violate the bill’s terms are subject to a fine of up to $5,000 per violation.
“To say that rape is a devastating occurrence is a total understatement,” Taylor emphasized. “The effects of rape—physically, emotionally, and psychologically—last long after the attack. With this measure, women will immediately be afforded the medical care they deserve.”
Because of procedural posturing by certain Assembly Republicans, AB 377 will not be formally messaged to the Senate until the next Assembly session. The rarely used tactic ob locking the bill’s messaging to the Senate means a vote can be scheduled until next week at the earliest in the Senate.
“This is just one more in a long line of procedural roadblocks for this bill,” said Taylor. “In the eight months since AB 377 was introduced, Assembly Republicans have tried everything to kill this bill. Like ostriches, they’re just burying their heads in the sand, trying anything to avoid the reality that the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims bill will pass.”
Because the Assembly has not scheduled its next session, no one knows when AB 377 will actually come before the Senate. “When it does, though,” commented Taylor, “I will make getting it passed a priority. We’re only a vote away from a victory for women across Wisconsin.”