The Assembly has approved legislation requiring hospitals to make emergency contraceptives available to rape victims.
The bill cleared the Assembly Wednesday on a 61-35 vote . State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says it will help protect rape victims by requiring hospitals to tell rape victims in emergency rooms about the availability of drugs, such as the morning after pill, and to dispense them if requested.
State Representative Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) was among several Republicans against the bill. He pushed for an exemption for doctors morally opposed to the drug's use. As written, he says the bill passed by the Assembly tells doctors they have to do something they oppose because the state says so. However, supporters say the mandate is just for hospitals, which simply have to have a person available who is willing to dispense the drug.
Supporters say only one-third of Wisconsin hospitals currently offer emergency contraceptives to rape victims. State Representative Joe Parisi (D-Madison) says that can cause a crisis, especially in rural areas where women may have to travel long distances to get the drug.
The bill now heads to the Senate, which passed a slightly different version last year. Governor Doyle has already said he'll sign the measure, if it's sent to his desk.