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Friday, September 12, 2008

McCain Voted Against Biden Law Requiring Free Rape Exams

In 1994, John McCain voted against legislation -- pushed through Congress by Joe Biden -- that helped put an end to the practice of charging rape victims for sexual assault exams.

Twisted as it may sound, charging victims for a forensic exam was a real problem. For example, as AMERICAblog has documented (and the media is now reporting), when Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, the town charged rape victims for the exams.

Biden's legislation required that state, local, and Indian governments provide the rape exams to victims free of charge as a condition of receiving federal funds under the Violence Against Women Act. In 2000, Alaska finally passed state legislation in order to qualify for federal funding.

McCain not only opposed Biden's legislation, but also has voted against funding it as recently as October 2007.

McCain voted against final passage of Biden's legislation. He had supported an earlier version, but on the question of actually making the legislation the law of the land, McCain joined 35 conservative Republicans (and 2 Democrats) and said "no" to ensuring that all women had access to rape exams free of charge.

Here's the text of the rape exam provision in Biden's legislation:

H.R.3355: Violent Crime Control
and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

SEC. 2005. RAPE EXAM PAYMENTS.

`(a) RESTRICTION OF FUNDS-

`(1) IN GENERAL- A State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government, shall not be entitled to funds under this part unless the State, Indian tribal government, unit of local government, or another governmental entity incurs the full out-of-pocket cost of forensic medical exams described in subsection (b) for victims of sexual assault.

`(2) REDISTRIBUTION- Funds withheld from a State or unit of local government under paragraph (1) shall be distributed to other States or units of local government pro rata. Funds withheld from an Indian tribal government under paragraph (1) shall be distributed to other Indian tribal governments pro rata.

`(b) MEDICAL COSTS- A State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government shall be deemed to incur the full out-of-pocket cost of forensic medical exams for victims of sexual assault if any government entity--

`(1) provides such exams to victims free of charge to the victim;

`(2) arranges for victims to obtain such exams free of charge to the victims; or

`(3) reimburses victims for the cost of such exams if--

`(A) the reimbursement covers the full cost of such exams, without any deductible requirement or limit on the amount of a reimbursement;

`(B) the reimbursing governmental entity permits victims to apply for reimbursement for not less than one year from the date of the exam;

`(C) the reimbursing governmental entity provides reimbursement not later than 90 days after written notification of the victim's expense; and

`(D) the State, Indian tribal government, unit of local government, or reimbursing governmental entity provides information at the time of the exam to all victims, including victims with limited or no English proficiency, regarding how to obtain reimbursement.

And here's another link to McCain's vote against the legislation and to his October 2007 vote against funding it.

Original here

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