Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rape Victim Arrested and Denied Contraception on Religious Grounds

This story is one that is hauntingly similar to what occurred to another rape victim that I wrote about a few weeks earlier.

A young woman was raped, and reported to a rape crisis center for evaluation and help.  She was given  an emergency contraception (presumably "Plan B pill," from the description given.  With this type of emergency contraception, one pill is taken as soon as possible, and the second is taken 12 hours later.) and was told to report the rape to police.  Once she did so, she was arrested for an outstanding warrant for 2 non-violent crimes (Failure to appear and failure to provide restitution).  Once at the county jail, her second contraceptive pill was confiscated, and not provided to her in the time frame it was instructed to be taken by her physician and the manufacturer.  The reason?  It was against the guard's religious beliefs.

There are two issues with this situation.  First, if women who are raped and immediately arrested after reporting their rape to police, for outstanding warrants, women with warrants are going to stop reporting their rapes.  This is dangerous.  I understand the purpose of warrants and the necessity of them, but I would argue that there must also be some discretion used.  Which did not occur in this case. If you lived in this community, who would you rather have on the street, a woman who failed to appear in court, and failed to pay money that she owed, or a rapist?

The second part of this that I take issue with, is of course, the witholding of a prescribed and legally obtained medication from an imprisoned person.  This is simply unacceptable on multiple levels.  This guard was not a medical doctor, and even if she were, the patient should always have the final say in their medical care.  No one, physician, jail guard, police officer, judge, clergy, or anyone else, should be forcing any other person to receive, or fail to receive healthcare that they want.

This is yet again, another example of how one person's religion has intruded upon another person's right to autonomy and self-determination.  As I have stated several times, I am not anti-religion, indeed many of my closest friends are devoutly religious, but I am against one person's religion being the basis for decisions made about another person's life.  This is inappropriate, unconstitutional, and simply should not be tolerated.

What are your thoughts?  Leave me comment below on what you think about this or other situations like this that you know of.

Thanks and take care!

-The Atheist Physician

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