WI requires hospitals to provide EC to rape survivors

Some great news to end your week with:

Flanked by two survivors of sexual assault, one with tears welling in her eyes, Gov. Jim Doyle signed a long awaited bill Thursday that requires hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
“This is one bill I’ve been working to get on my desk for a long, long time,” Doyle said.
He credited rape survivors like Linda Gage and Amanda Harrington, who provided testimony before the state Legislature and appeared next to him at the bill signing, with being instrumental to the bill’s passage.
“I would like to recognize all of the survivors who have been willing to come forward with their stories … and to tell what they went through,” Doyle said. “The survivors really made this happen.”

It’s kind of unbelievable that anyone would want to fight against a law that would ensure rape survivors are treated with respect and given all the necessary medical options they need. But in any case, I’m glad to see Wisconsin took this important step in fighting for women’s health.
Gage said the new law “tells me, my daughter and the women of Wisconsin that our health and well-being does matter to our state government.”
Find out more at BushvChoice.

Join the Conversation

  • MyBabyPanda

    YES! This is a big win. It is absolutely absurd that hospitals are allowed to provide sub-standard care because of their beliefs. Now if it would only apply to pharmacists, too…
    Until this is law in every state, I will never go to a Catholic hospital for treatment. I don’t want someone else’s beliefs getting in the way of the care I need.

  • Amber schn0562

    Yeah! MN passed this in August 2007! It’s a great bill!

  • http://givingbydesign.blogspot.com rachelgbd


  • Minervasp73

    This is GREAT. I was there to help get this introduced into the Assembly (along with others) and what a JOY it is to see it made into law. Wisconsin just became a better place to live.

  • BluePencils

    I think this is an overdue law that should be on the books in every state. However, saying that:
    It’s kind of unbelievable that anyone would want to fight against a law that would ensure rape survivors are treated with respect and given all the necessary medical options they need.
    is disingenuous. We all know–or I assume anyone writing for Feministing would know–that there are people who truly believe that emergency contraception is the same thing as an abortion and will fight against it. So, yes, there are people who will want to fight against it, and don’t consider it a medical necessity, they consider it murder, and against the rights of any doctors, nurses, or hospitals who are opposed to abortion. Pretending that there shouldn’t be any opposition, when there is, doesn’t help the fight.

  • http://moderatelyinsane.blogspot.com Sailorman

    Is there a simple list somewhere where we can see what states do/don’t have this?

  • EyeHeartNY

    Yay! Another reason to be proud of my home state.

  • AnnaSoror

    That’s true, Bluepencils, but a lot of pro-lifers make exceptions for rape, no?

  • http://profoundsarcasm.blogspot.com Liza

    And here I thought all they had to offer was cheese!

  • Denelian

    this makes me want to move…
    i get that there are people who (claim) that EC is the same as an abortion. its just i have never heard anyone say that and actually believed that that is what they MEANT when they said it. which may just be my prejudice against people who don’t like EC…
    what i really hear from these people (as opposed to what they say; what i HEAR) is that women who are raped deserved it. or God wanted it. like maybe rape was the only way to make this woman pregnant, and God wanted her pregnant.
    and i have to ask, does anyone know what happened to the doctrine of Free Will? doesn’t it mean that women have the Free Will to prevent a pregnancy?

  • lyndorr

    “and i have to ask, does anyone know what happened to the doctrine of Free Will? doesn’t it mean that women have the Free Will to prevent a pregnancy?”
    Well, I can see someone responding that a woman has the free will to have sex or not (rape would be ignored). She has the freewill to choose to end her pregnancy in other ways (if the laws let her) but those ways aren’t moral (to some people EC). There are plenty of things we have the free will to do that some would claim are immoral. But I suppose you could argue that shouldn’t we at least give the woman the chance to use her free will to decide what to do?
    It’s all silly anyway. Laws should be based on what experts say would be best, not on religious ideas.

  • BluePencils

    That’s true, Bluepencils, but a lot of pro-lifers make exceptions for rape, no?
    Some do, many don’t. For many it’s all about sex and punishing women, even rape victims, because I’m sure a lot of people think that most rape victims deserved it somehow, by drinking or dressing provocatively–the “nice girls don’t get raped” idea. Which is, of course, bullshit. But the point is that many people are against EC, even for rape victims. They’re against providers being forced to prescribe EC, if the provider is against it. Some of them probably don’t understand what EC is and what it does, all they know is that they’ve been told it’s abortion. I bet some of them are on or have been on hormonal birth control and don’t know it’s the same thing. It’s why we need more education on the subject. Especially since the people who are against hormonal birth control scare the hell out of me, and we should force them out into the open, because the average American believes that birth control is necessary and should be widely available.

  • http://profoundsarcasm.blogspot.com Liza

    “Does anyone know what happened to the doctrine of Free Will?”
    Isn’t it amazing how certain doctrines and biblical verses disappear when they don’t fit what the religious zealots want?
    Kind of like how the Bill of Rights only matters when it’s protecting firearms.

  • oenophile

    A few things…
    Good for Wisconsin.
    When you are talking about pro-lifers, you’re talking about roughly half of the American population. It is as hard to paint them with one brush as it is pro-choicers (the other half), who run the gamut from “legal during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason” to “maybe legal during the first three months, with all forms of counseling beforehand.”
    Pro-lifers split on both rape and EC; EC after rape is an especially divisive matter within the group. There are also issues of what the government should do – it’s certainly a different matter to have things be legal and to have them be mandated, at the expense of (arguably) religious liberty.
    For me, EC falls under the “not worth the battle” section. Yes, it may prevent a fertilised egg from implanting. It’s primary function, however, is to prevent ovulation. (There is some evidence that the Pill may prevent implantation, which is why some pro-lifers oppose it and IUDs.) From a statistical perspective, EC availability does not reduce the abortion rate (at least, according to studies in Europe).
    As my pro-life leanings derive, in part, from the idea that, between a woman and her child, the woman was better situated to prevent the conflict of interest (i.e. her bodily autonomy or her child’s life), I find it hard to get too worked up about abortions after rape. Given that they represent approximately 1% of all abortions (less than those done for reasons of threats to maternal health and life), it doesn’t seem to be a battle worth fighting. (I do not mean this as “pregnancy is a punishment for sex,” or whatever – it is simply that, in 2008, there are a ridiculously large number of means to prevent pregnancy. Between the Pill, a condom, a spermicide gel, and having the man pull out, the chance of pregnancy is something like one in a million. If you’re serious about not getting pregnant, you can make it happen. When you remove the decision of whether or not to have sex, though, you are removing the ability to devise a method of not getting pregnant.)
    While I’m a very strong libertarian and oppose government regulation in many areas, especially where personal autonomy and religious liberty are concerned, I see this as a valid use of government force. We would be appalled if Jehovah’s Witnesses declared it both a mandate of their religion to provide health care, and to refuse blood transfusions, thus resulting in the death of many people. In a secular society, we let people act in religious ways, so long as it does not interfere with facially neutral laws – here, the administration of health care. Hospitals, religiously-affiliated or not, are bound to deliver the standard of care deemed appropriate by our society. If Catholic hospitals don’t like it, they are more than free to deliver health care in a non-emergency setting.