“When victims of rape or sexual violence seek emergency medical assistance following an attack, they may be saddled with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical bills, a new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found.
These bills can further traumatize victims, the study authors warn, and deter others from seeking professional help. Only one-fifth of sexual violence victims are estimated to seek medical care following an attack.”
“Republican state officials have been waiting decades for the chance to ban abortion.
Now that they can, red state lawmakers are mired in partisan infighting and struggling to agree on how far to go. The most fervently anti-abortion lawmakers are accusing their colleagues of capitulating on rape and incest exceptions, while those calling for compromise or moderation believe more strident Republicans are ignoring political realities.”
“Out of the 13 states with abortion bans in effect, only a few of them have these exceptions: Mississippi has an exception for rape but not for incest, while South Carolina’s and Georgia’s exceptions extend to both. (Oklahoma has passed multiple bans — some with exceptions, some without — and it’s still unclear which takes precedence.)
Another nine states have passed bans that are on hold. Four of those states include exceptions, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health rights think tank.”
“Most of the rape and incest exception clauses in abortion bans say that an abortion seeker must report the sexual assault to the police and then give the police report to their abortion provider, a process advocates say creates added stressors and hurdles for pregnant people.
In Mississippi, where a ban is in effect, the law states that, “No abortion shall be performed or induced […] except in the case where […] the pregnancy was caused by rape. For the purposes of this act, rape shall be an exception to the prohibition for an abortion only if a formal charge of rape has been filed with an appropriate law enforcement official.” The law does not specify who an “appropriate” law enforcement official is.
In Utah, where a judge is keeping the state’s abortion ban on hold due to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, the trigger law would ban almost all abortions but allow them in the case of rape or incest. Under this ordinance, the responsibility to verify that there was a rape falls on the health care provider.”
“Abortion advocates see all kinds of issues with these requirements. They create additional roadblocks for abortion seekers who are already facing challenges in a country where anti-abortion advocates want to ban the procedure outright, and who have undergone a traumatic experience already. The majority of sexual assaults — two out of three — are not reported to the police, and rape victims are often assaulted by someone they know, which further complicates their decision to file a report since they fear retaliation or believe the police won’t help, among other reasons.
And when people do report having been sexually assaulted, they are often not believed by law enforcement: The story of the 10-year-old Ohio rape survivor wasn’t believed, with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost claiming that “there was not a damn scintilla of evidence” to support the story. Onlookers only believed the story when news broke that the 27-year-old perpetrator came forward and confessed to raping the child at least twice.”