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 Wasillaâ€™s policy of billing rape victims may have something to do with Ms. Palinâ€™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:
â€œWe would never bill the victim of a burglary for fingerprinting and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence,â€ said Alaskaâ€™s then-governor, Tony Knowles. â€œNor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies.â€
And in case you’re wondering if there was any Federal effort to keep states from charging the victims, here you go:
Thatâ€™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. Palinâ€™s running mate, voted against Mr. Bidenâ€™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.