Copyright © 2005 Henrietta W. Hay
After Rape -- The Governer
April 8, 2005
I have never been raped. But I have talked to women who have been. It is almost impossible, even for a woman, to imagine the trauma which a rape victim goes through. And the fear and horror often last a lifetime. When you add the fear of pregnancy, of having to carry and give birth to a rapist's child you add tremendously to the trauma.
But Governor Owens obviously does not believe rape victims as important as his own personal religious beliefs and maintaining his political base. I respect his religious beliefs, but he was elected as governor of all us, including rape victims. He vetoed HB 1042. Passed by the Colorado Legislature, the bill required that all hospitals in the state to inform rape victims of the existence of emergency contraception.
Some religious groups consider the use of the EC to be abortion. By vetoing HB 1042, the governor chose to follow his religious beliefs, and put all rape victims at risk of not receiving the information which would enable them to avoid a repugnant pregnancies. One interesting point which seems to have been forgotten is that this veto may lead to later abortions, which are legal procedures, accepted by a majority of Americans.
The opposition to this bill is, of course, is part of the ongoing political abortion issue. What should be a personal issue between a woman and her doctor has become a political football. Whole national issues are decided on it. President Bush is expected to appoint only "pro life" justices if any vacancies occur in the Supreme Court.
I know that a minority truly considers the use of EC he an immoral procedure. They should certainly avoid it in case any members of their family are raped. But it should not be denied to those who believe differently.
It is a safe drug and is used widely by women of childbearing age. It is considered safer than aspirin and is 80 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when taken within 3 days after intercourse.
The EC products are Prevan and Plan B. They have been approved by the
F.D.A but political pressure has prevented their being available over the counter. They still require a doctor's prescription. The American College of OB/GYN urges its physician members to give every fertile patient a prescription for EC at every visit. The doctors in the office of my personal physician feel so strongly that they have given out 600 free EC kits in the past six years
Locally, we are fortunate. Rape victims are sent to Latimer House or to The Western Slope Center for Children where SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurses are highly trained to give the victims skilled and sympathetic care, including information about EC.
This whole situation involves two very important issues, freedom of speech and the question, "when does life begin"?
There is a question whether the obligation of a hospital, dedicated to the health care of a community to give its patients the very best heath care available, can supersede freedom of speech in some cases.
And the question of the beginning of life will probably never be settled. All of us have our own opinions.
Now if we could only figure out a way to prevent rape.