Religion Cited for Denial of Emergency Contraception to Oklahoma Rape Victim

[Leslie Carol Botha: Once again another skirmish arises in this year’s social/political/religious war on women’s bodies.  Justin Rosario has written a provocative summary not only of this rape victim’s traumatic experience at the hospital, when she was denied a rape exam, and then denied emergency contraception. First assaulted by a rapist and then raped again by the hospital administration. This is not a liberal issue. Every woman has the right to decide if she wants to carry a pregnancy to term.  Especially a rape victim. It is gratifying to hear this outrage coming from a man.]

Oklahoma Rape Victim Denied Emergency Contraceptives. Doctor Cites Religious Objection As Reason

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The Knowledge You Crave

May 31, 2012

Remember when doctors did what was in the best interest of the patient? Remember when refusing to provide care could get you fired or even arrested? Well, those days are coming to a close as doctors and nurses have been freed by the GOP from any ethical or moral restraints. These days, a medical practitioner can simply ignore a patient because treating them goes against their “religious beliefs.”

This was the nightmare scenario for a 24 year old Oklahoma woman and her mother. Via Raw Story:

The woman and her daughter were reportedly turned away because the hospital did not have any nurses who conduct rape exams on staff. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are specially trained professionals who deal only with the delicate process of conducting rape exams. The SANE program is coordinated through the YWCA and is a collaboration with local law enforcement, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and public health officials. The collaborative effort is designed to ensure evidence is properly collected and stored without re-traumatizing the victim and ensuring the most effective prosecution of the perpetrator possible.

Well, OK. Fair enough. If they have specialized staff specifically for that purpose and none were on hand, then I could see the doctor not wanting to interfere with the process of gathering evidence. But was that really the problem?

In this case the doctor involved refused to conduct any exam, nor would she dispense any emergency contraception. The hospital issued a statement grounding those decisions in the need to coordinate through the SANE program.

Wouldn’t dispense emergency contraception? That’s odd. Emergency contraception wouldn’t interfere with a rape kit at all or impact the investigation in any way. What could that be about?

The young woman asked the doctor whether or not emergency contraceptives were available and whether the doctor was simply refusing to provide them. The nurse told her “I will not give you emergency contraceptives because it goes against my belief.” The doctor refused to help her, even though she had just been raped, and refused to find another doctor to help her.

Ah. I see. So the doctor and nurse really refused to help because of their twisted beliefs. On top of that, according to the mother “Her (the doctor) attitude was so condescending. It was like she was treating my daughter like she had done something wrong.”

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.