After a long delay, the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Bill is now being considered by the Wisconsin State Assembly. The bill, which would require hospitals to provide rape victims with information about emergency contraception and access to the medication if it is requested, already passed the State Senate with a 27-6 vote. It has been stalled in the Judiciary and Ethics Committee of the State Assembly.
Representative Mark Gundrum, chair of the committee, finally granted a long-awaited hearing on the bill last Thursday. A Republican who opposes the bill, Rep. Gundrum resisted holding hearings because of his concerns regarding doctors with religious objections to emergency contraception. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), a sponsor of the Assembly bill, stated that the bill already made exceptions for these doctors. Rep. Pocan anticipates an attempt by opponents to amend the legislation, which he said he would be open to as long as the alterations do not "gut" the bill, the Capital Times reports.
Although the bill has faced recent defeats in the state Legislature, similar legislation has been successful elsewhere. Chris Taylor, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, stated, "Nine other states have passed this law and there has never been a constitutional challenge. The state clearly has the right to regulate health care professionals and entities to protect the safety, health and life of patients," reports the Capital Times.
Media Resources: Madison Times 9/7/07, 9/6/07, 9/5/07; Daily Cardinal 9/10/07