Democrats in the Hawaii Senate stood up for women on Tuesday when they passed a bill mandating hospital emergency rooms to offer emergency contraception to victims of rape. The bill passed easily in the Democratic dominated upper chamber. A Republican lawmaker tried to amend the bill to allow hospitals to deny rape victims contraception for religious reasons, but Democrats were quick to reject it in favor of actually helping victims.
“Ensures that victims of sexual assault are provided with medically and factually unbiased information about and access to emergency contraception when receiving emergency medical care at Hawaii’s hospitals for sexual assaults.”
According to Hawaii Now News:
Republican Sen. Sam Slom tried and failed to amend the bill to allow hospitals to claim a religious exemption instead of distributing the morning-after pill. Slom told lawmakers the bill is an example of the state trampling on religious rights. Sen. Josh Green urged lawmakers to reject Slom’s amendment. The Democrat says the issue isn’t about religious freedom but rather about providing quality care. The state attorney general says there were 353 reported rapes in Hawaii in 2011. Slom’s amendment was easily defeated by the overwhelmingly Democratic state Senate.
Many states are doing the opposite of Hawaii. Conservatives in red states are waging a war on contraception, even emergency contraception that would prevent rape victims from getting pregnant. It’s almost as if conservatives want rapists to have the right to impregnate their victims. Forcing rape victims to be pregnant with their rapist’s child is cruel and rewards rapists with progeny, not to mention the nine months of emotional and physical agony inflicted upon a a rape victim simply because a Christian Righty denied that victim the right to prevent pregnancy. But Hawaii is clearly taking a stand for rape victims.
Passage of the bill marks the first step towards making sure women who are the victims of rape get the care they deserve, instead of being treated like they’re the ones who did something wrong. Being a medical professional means checking your religion at the door the second you step foot in the hospital. It doesn’t matter what your personal beliefs are. The only thing that matters is the patient and what they need and want. It’s either that or you might as well throw away your Hippocratic Oath and go find another profession where religious bigotry and ignorance are welcome. I suggest a position in a fundamentalist evangelical church.