Maloney Urges Help for Rape Victims
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced legislation today that would help rape victims avoid unwanted pregnancies. The “Best Help for Rape Victims Act” (H.R. 3318) would require that emergency contraception (EC) be included in the federal guidelines for treating victims of sexual assault, which the Justice Department issues to hospitals around the country. EC is currently excluded from the Justice Department’s National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination.
“Rape victims deserve the right to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortion. Women who have been raped should be given information about all medical options available to them,” Maloney said. “This is another example of this Administration mixing politics and public health. The omission of EC in the federal guidelines is suspect but certainly not surprising given this Administration’s aversion to sound science and women’s rights.”
Of the 300,000 women who are sexually assaulted every year in America, approximately 25,000 find out they are pregnant as a result of the attack. EC could prevent most of these unwanted pregnancies – many of which may ultimately be terminated in abortion. Mounting evidence suggests that some hospitals, especially religiously affiliated hospitals, are not providing EC to victims of sexual assault.
The American Medical Association (AMA) supports giving sexual assault victims counseling about the risk of pregnancy and offering them EC.
On January 13, 2005, Congresswoman Maloney and a bipartisan group of 96 of her colleagues urged the Justice Department to help rape victims avoid unwanted pregnancies by including the option of emergency contraception (EC) in its National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination: http://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/choice/011305DOJ.pdf.
On February 10, Congresswoman Maloney was denied an opportunity to speak and led to believe she could not submit testimony at a public hearing held by the Justice Department that was scheduled to gather public comment on the Protocol. Instead having her statement or written testimony accepted, Maloney was asked to leave by an official who suggested that if she did not leave security would be called: http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=144&Itemid=61.
Congresswoman Maloney introduced similar legislation in the 109th Congress: http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=129&Itemid=61.