Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 





A Pitiless Plan A: Denying Plan B Emergency Contraception to Victims of Rape
Monday, 24 September 2007 14:51
by Robert Weitzel

“I don't think you are supposed to put others through hell so you can avoid it yourself.”
- A Good Friend
In the cold, early morning hours of January 1, 1974, a good friend, then a 19-year-old college student, was driving home alone from a New Year’s Eve party. Her Volkswagen was forced off the road. She was dragged kicking and screaming into the van of a man who had decided to kidnap and rape her. My friend spent the hours immediately after her brutal violation convincing the man not to kill her.

“A van appeared out of nowhere attempting to run me off the road. I was panic-stricken. I pulled into a parking lot where two men were preparing morning papers for delivery and ran from my car trying to reach them. My attacker caught me from behind and dragged me into his van. I was so close to the paper men I could almost touch them. I screamed for them to help me. The man who would rape me shouted to them that I was his girlfriend and that we were having a fight. Apparently that was okay with the paper men.”

“He drove to an isolated area in a nearby town, then ordered me to take off my clothes and get in the back of the van. I fought him until he punched me. I remembered hearing once that the best way to survive a violent sexual assault was to give in, so I did. The guilt of doing so haunted me for years.”

The Wisconsin State Senate overwhelmingly passed the “Compassionate Care for Rape Victims,” a bill that requires hospitals providing emergency services to inform a rape victim of her right to receive Plan B emergency contraception (high-dosage birth control pills administered within 72 hours of intercourse) and to immediately provide it upon her request.

The bill was referred to the Assembly Judiciary and Ethics Committee, where it was amended by the committee chair, Rep. Mark Gundrum, a dogmatic Roman Catholic who was awarded the 1999 Legislator of the Year Award by Pro-Life Wisconsin, an anti-contraceptives/anti-choice organization opposed to the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims bill.

The amendment was a “conscience clause” allowing healthcare providers to opt out of informing a rape victim about the Plan B emergency contraception option because of religious or moral beliefs. The amendment was passed by a 6-4 party line vote in the Republican controlled committee.

Rep. Gundrum included the amendment because he believes there were some First Amendment issues with the bill, “ freedom of speech and freedom of religion . . . forcing people to say things they don’t mean . . . that may be against their religious beliefs.”

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

This amendment becomes a serious problem in the first 72 hours of a rape crisis, especially in rural areas with small medical clinics, if one or more of the healthcare providers have religious convictions against informing a victim of rape that she has an option that will safely and effectively prevent her from becoming pregnant with her assailant’s child. One-third of reproductive age women remain unaware of emergency contraception.

The Wisconsin compassionate care law has nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of religion and everything to do with appropriate, responsible, legal health care . . . not to mention basic humanity.

“After he raped me, he said he didn't know what to do with me. He said that he could kill me and I thought he would. There were shotgun shells strewn across the dashboard and he said he had a shotgun.” “In the days and weeks following the rape Idid not sleep,I could not eat,and I was afraid to beout after dark. Myentire life changed. There simply are no words to describe theshame and guilt that became so much a part of my life. I remember soaking in the tub for what seemed like hours, night after night, attempting to cleanse myself of the filth of the rape.”

In 2004 there were 1,134 forcible rapes—one every 7 hours and 43 minutes—reported in Wisconsin. One in four of those victims said they feared death or serious injury.

Nationally, over 300,000 forcible rapes are reported each year. Twenty-five thousand of these women will become pregnant. If these victims have timely access to Plan B emergency contraception, an estimated 22,000 pregnancies—almost 90 percent—could be prevented.

A 1996 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that 50 percent of rape-related pregnancies end in abortion. Plan B would prevent these abortions.

“I was so young and so naïve that it  didn't immediately occur to me I could be pregnant. I was a virgin the morning I was raped. I was not using birth control. Plan B emergency contraception was not an option 33 years ago.The only options at the time were to  have had an abortion or to carry to term and give birth to the child of the man who had kidnapped and raped and threatened to kill me.I became possessed by this decision, wondering if Iwould see this man's face in the child. And if I chose to have his child, could I love it the way a child needs to be loved . . . unconditionally. Would I ever heal? In the end, I decided I could not have an abortion. I would have chosen Plan B, however.”

There is federal legislation, the “Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act,” in both houses of Congress that will require hospitals receiving federal funds through the Medicare and Medicaid programs to provide Plan B emergency contraception to rape victims.

One can safely assume that right-wing Christian organizations such as “Focus on the Family” and “Concerned Women of America” will be putting their considerable political clout into melting the spine of any politician with the slightest inclination to support the federal CARE Act. Like Wisconsin’s compassionate care law, it will no doubt get locked up in committee, eviscerated and forgotten about. This is, after all, not the first attempt at passing such federal legislation.

Only nine states have statutes providing victims of rape with timely access to Plan B emergency contraception. Considering the current fragile state of Roe v. Wade, strong state and federal compassionate care laws may be a rape victim’s only hope of having her right to choose the rest of her life supercede the rapist’s “right” to impregnate her. If the likes of Rep. Gundrum or Pro-Life Wisconsin or Focus on the Family prevail, the man who chooses to rape will win hands down.

“Though many years have passed and I consider myself healed from therape, there are still times I look at my four children and thank God I’ve never had to explain to one of them that their father was a rapist. I also thank God I am not reminded of that man and of that cold New Year’s morning whenever I look at them but, instead, know that each one of my children was conceived by choice, and in love, and were fathered by a most wonderful man.”

Biography: Robert Weitzel is a freelance writer whose essays appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Skeptic Magazine, Freethought Today and on popular liberal websites. He can be contacted at: rweitz@tds.net
More from this author:
The Trouble With The Entire World Is A Guy Named Ron (5308 Hits)
by Robert Weitzel This is not a parody. I swear. It’s all true. Just so you’ll know that what follows is scientifically possible, I ...
How Cynicism Will Save Us From A Date With Extinction (5138 Hits)
by Robert Weitzel I am a Homo sapien and a cynic by nature. I can no more change one than the other. And while there is nothing mutually...
Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris: The Unholy Trinity . . .Thank God. (13935 Hits)
by Robert Weitzel Christopher Hitchens, contrarian atheist and slayer of all beasts fascistic and theocratic, will be in Madison, Wisconsin,...
When George Bush Smiles People Die (4998 Hits)
by Robert Weitzel “[Bush’s] face seems to be involved in a somewhat painful, quasi-involuntary struggle to prevent itself from erupting...
The Realpolitik of Article VI: Religious Test Required for Public Office (5094 Hits)
by Robert Weitzel “He won my vote when he talked about religion.” -Candice Collins- In an October 4 New York Times article, Marc...
Related Articles:
Bush makes a “Clean Break” with the Baker Plan (7895 Hits)
by Mike Whitney “Pressure from the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in 2003, but it was critical. Some...
Tomgram: Dreyfuss on Bush's Wizard-of-Oz Iraq Plan (7544 Hits)
by Tom Engelhardt Every now and then, you have to take a lesson or two from history. In the case of George Bush's Iraq, here's one: No matter...
Annals of Liberation: Riverbend on the Rape of Sabrine al-Janabi (7034 Hits)
by Chris Floyd One of the truly courageous voices of the Iraqi war, Riverbend, the "girl blogger" from Baghdad, is back after weeks...
Macho Males - The Brutal Rape and Murder of a 14-year old Girl and her Family (10176 Hits)
by Paul Balles As the Texas decider swaggered across the White House lawn, five of his Best-of-Baghdad troops were brutally raping and...
Plan X,Y& Z - For Victory in Iraq & Iran (6967 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo The surge – now being billed as “Plan A,” really isn't. It's more like Plan U or V or W, depending on when you...

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



Top 123