Gendered Policy

Posted by – September 27, 2008

Dorothy Samuels wrote a great Op-Ed for The NYT on the whole issue of Wasilla charging rape victims the cost of their rape kits and forensic exams.

In the absence of answers, speculation is bubbling in the blogosphere that Wasilla’s policy of billing rape victims may have something to do with Ms. Palin’s extreme opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape. Sexual-assault victims are typically offered an emergency contraception pill, which some people in the anti-choice camp wrongly equate with abortion.

My hunch is that it was the result of outmoded attitudes and boneheaded budget cutting.

Mine too, but that’s still not an excuse, and we deserve an explanation. As Tony Knowles said:

“We would never bill the victim of a burglary for fingerprinting and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence,” said Alaska’s then-governor, Tony Knowles. “Nor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies.”

And in case you’re wondering if there was any Federal effort to keep states from charging the victims, here you go:

That’s why when Senator Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, drafted the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, he included provisions to make states ineligible for federal grant money if they charged rape victims for exams and the kits containing the medical supplies needed to conduct them. (Senator John McCain, Ms. Palin’s running mate, voted against Mr. Biden’s initiative, and his name has not been among the long list of co-sponsors each time the act has been renewed.)

This is probably the best example of why having a woman in office means almost nothing if her policy is blind to the needs of women.

4 Comments on Gendered Policy

  1. VivaZoya says:

    I’ve read and read several different links about this issue, and I can’t find any hard evidence for either argument (the current rebuttal being that only insurance carriers are billed, and also that Illinois also has a rape-kit charge policy), so I’m frustrated – but the bottom line is that this particular charge is icky enough to stick to SP, because she is so unlikable in other ways (her interview with Katie Couric, OMG, that did it for me), that this just puts her whole candidacy over the edge. She’s pretty much toast already, now it’s just a matter of watching a horrifying train wreck in slow motion.

  2. christinesus says:

    “CBS News was with him last Thursday during one of the rockiest weeks in history for the U.S. economy, something that wasn’t lost on the six-term senator.

    “Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people … this is how we can fix this,” Biden said. “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.’”

    One problem. Roosevelt wasn’t President. Hoover was. And TV hadn’t been invented yet.

    Palin makes mistakes. Biden makes mistakes. McCain screws up. Obama screws up.

    The issue here is do you want socialism, and huge government solutions that take away your rights? Then vote Obama / Biden. If you want more of a free-market, self-responsibility philosophy, DON’T vote Obama.

    The rest of these arguments are mental masturbation.

  3. divadarya says:

    Hey, VZ…You just proved what I said about this not being about Republican and Democrat but about “thoughtful” or “thoughtless”. I don’t think she’s the bete noir some of us have painted her to be, but the thought of two hotheads running the country, with one hothead a heartbeat away,it gives one chills.

  4. helenboyd says:

    Christine, I can understand painting the bailout as socialism & how someone might see it that way. But you pretty much destroy your own argument by saying democrats offer “huge government solutions that take away your rights?” Um, what are you talking about? What rights are being taken away? By the bailout, specifically, or by Democrats in general?

    This is about government not covering an expense for women – an expense caused by crimes directed at women – that they cover the expense for, for everyone else. & That to me is discrimination & sexism. If they also made people pay for the cost of fingerprinting, etc., after a burglary, then it would make sense. But our taxes – if they do nothing else – should pay for basic criminal investigation.

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