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Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin's cruelty to women

I know that every time we mention Sarah Palin's name we are playing into Republican hands by falling for the politics of distraction. Even so, I want to put a few more facts out there for your consideration.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that quite a few non-conservative women favor Palin. What they need to know is that Palin does not favor them. Consider two cases.

1. No friend to pregnant teens
As I reported earlier, Governor Palin used Alaska's line-item veto power to slash funding for homeless pregnant teens from $5 million to $3.9 million. You can see her actual handwriting on the budget document in this article by the Washington Post.

2. No friend to rape victims
While Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, her town was apparently the only one in Alaska that charged rape victims for police rape kits. The practice only ended in 2000 when the Alaska state legislature passed a law prohibiting local governments from charging for the kits. From the Boston Herald for September 11, 2008:
Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill—signed into law by [Alaska Governor Tony] Knowles—that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla’s newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

"(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.

It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.

"In the past we’ve charged the cost of exams to the victims' insurance company when possible," Fannon told the newspaper. "I just don’t want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."
No one wants high taxes, but this really takes the Republican anti-tax dogma too far.

Here is the actual statute from the Alasaka state code:
Sec. 18.68.040. Sexual assault victim may not be required to pay for examination

A law enforcement agency, health care facility, or other entity may not require a victim of sexual assault under AS 11.41.410 -- 11.41.425 who is 16 years of age or older to pay, directly or indirectly, through health insurance or any other means, for the costs of examination of the victim necessary for

(1) collecting evidence using the sexual assault examination kit under AS 18.68.010 or otherwise; or

(2) determining whether a sexual assault has occurred.
(The law, 2000 AK. ALS 57, was signed by Governor Knowles on May 16, 2000.)

Isn't it embarassing that a state even needs a statute like this to rein in a rogue town like Palin's Wasilla that shortchanges rape victims? It would be a much bigger embarassment if John McCain and Sarah Palin win the election thanks to the support of American women.



There is new evidence today that the policy of charging rape victims for their police rape kits in Wasilla was initiated in the 1998-1999 fiscal year, i.e., during Palin's mayoralty. That rules out any possibility that the policy existed before Palin and that she simply continued it. No, she implemented it.

That means the Republican presidential ticket this year consists of a man who voted against the Violence Against Women Act, drafted by Senator Joseph Biden, and a woman who charged rape victims for rape kits. At least they're in sync on the issues.

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