Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Katie Dodge Hanson

To the Editor:

Iowans are compassionate people and share the belief that people who have been victims of crimes should receive support and assistance. Most would agree that rape is one of the crimes that certainly necessitates comprehensive services to victims.

Victims of rape have an acute need for timely access to health services as soon as possible after a violent assault, including emergency contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy from occurring. Making sure victims have access to this care is good public policy and consistent with medical ethics and standard of care.

Costs for this, and the forensic examinations provided to victims of rape and sexual assault, are funded by the state’s victim compensation fund, which is administered by the attorney general’s Crime Victims Assistance Division. Dollars for the victim compensation fund come from fines and penalties paid by offenders and no taxpayer dollars are used for the fund.

Recently, Iowa’s new Republican attorney general, Brenna Bird, put a hold on the longtime policy of paying for emergency contraception for sexual assault victims. This is cruel and short-sighted and will result in victims either unable to access needed treatment or forced to pay out-of-pocket for these services, further adding to their trauma.

Please ask Attorney General Brenna Bird to reconsider this decision. Urge her to use her office to enhance access to services and healing for rape victims by eliminating barriers to support services, not creating new ones.

Katie Dodge Hanson