Assembly leaders have agreed to allow a vote on legislation that requires hospitals to tell rape victims about emergency contraceptive drugs and dispense it if a patient makes the request.
The bill received bi-partisan support in the Senate, but many lawmakers were concerned the Assembly would block passage, especially after an amendment allowed hospitals to opt out of the requirement. Assembly Democrat Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says the change essentially guts the bill, by allowing hospitals to still not tell rape victims about the morning after pill.
Pocan says his goal when the bill hits the Assembly floor is to remove the amendment. He's confident that enough Republicans will support the change to make that happen.
Pocan says the bill is needed because 60-percent of hospital emergency rooms in the state aren't telling rape victims about emergency contraceptives. He says not requiring hospitals to offer the drug means traumatized victims may have to "shop around" for the drug.
Opponents of the measure have raised constitutional questions about forcing a doctor or hospital to dispense a medication.