We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama: The Feminist Choice IV

I maintained that Obama was the best candidate for defending women's rights back during the primary, when that opinion made me unpopular with the supporters of another feminist, Senator Clinton.

Well, given the current opposition, Obama's superiority on women's issues should be a little easier to see. Senator McCain is clearly not the standard bearer for women's issues. And Governor Palin? Her position on abortion is pretty clear: more radical than the retread abortion ban we South Dakotans get to vote on this fall.

Perhaps more telling is the policy Mayor Palin supported on rape back in Wasilla, Alaska (you know, Alaska, where the rape rate is two and a half times the national average, the highest in the nation?). During the first few years of Mayor Palin's reign, the City of Wasilla charged women for rape kits. Basically, victims of sexual assault had to pay $300 to $1200 to have the Wasilla police investigate the crime.

This practice stopped in Wasilla in 2000... when Democratic Governor Tony Knowles signed legislation banning police from billing victims for such investigations. This over the objection of Wasilla police chief (and Palin appointee) Charlie Fannon, who fretted that the new law would cost his department $5,000 to $14,000 a year.

Meanwhile, Mayor Palin was running up $20 million in municipal debt to build a sports complex. Ah, priorities.

Oh yeah, and what about that other guy in the race, Senator Obama? His home state Illinois used to let the police charge women for rape kits. Obama co-sponsored legislation to reimburse sexual assualt victims for their expenses under the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Act.*

If you're interested in protecting women's rights, Obama's still the right choice.

*Big thanks to OpEdna for extended work on this story!


  1. From the article:

    "In the past we’ve charged the cost of exams to the victim's insurance company when possible. I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer," Fannon said.

    "Ultimately it is the criminal who should bear the burden of the added costs," Fannon said.

    "The forensic exam is just one part of the equation. I'd like to see the courts make these people pay restitution for these things," Fannon said.

    Fannon said he intends to include the cost of exams required to collect evidence in a restitution request as a part of a criminal's sentencing.

    [end quote from article]

    Personally, I think the criminal should pay for the rape kit, too. (But the city should pick it up if the criminal can't be found/convicted.)

    Kind regards,

  2. David,
    Presumably then, you think all criminals should be responsible for paying for the costs of forensic investigations whether bank robberies or murder or rape. Or is rape a special crime in your perspective?

  3. "Presumably then, you think all criminals should be responsible for paying for the costs of forensic investigations whether bank robberies or murder or rape."

    Yep. That sounds eminently reasonable. Now in some cases it's a matter of squeezing blood out of a turnip... but that's always an issue in restitution. A poor person could torch the school and never be able to pay for the repairs.

  4. Zakstar makes a good point. As a taxpayer I would not consider this expense a burden. Totally unbelievable to bill the victim. jh

  5. Vindicated (again):

    Reported rapes for Wasilla, AK before the year 2000: 0

    Gee, let's all get mad at Sarah for a policy on the books that never came into practice once. Maybe if the town actually had a rape, she would have learned about how the kits were charged to the victims and put a stop to it.

    Keep it up Cory...

    Kind regards,

  6. Bergan....let me get this straight or elighten me...you sell vision insurance and you are against socialized medicine? this question is from a blog awhile back but I was just wondering? Also, do you really claim to be a Democrat or was I also misunderstood on that point.

    Thank you for any clarifications.

  7. I went to the chart to which David Bergan referred. No numbers are reported from 1980 to 1990. It skips to 1995 before skipping again to 2000.

  8. David: "Vindicated" again? Try missed the point again. "Vindication" on this issue would be a news item stating that Mayor Palin reversed this reprehensible policy herself and had sharp words for her police chief when he expressed such an backward position.

    Anon 8:09: I read that same chart when I was writing the post. You're right: it lacks data for 1996-1999 and doesn't cite its source; that's why I chose not to include it in the original post. But now that it has David's seal of approval, we might note that Governor Knowles's 2000 policy change may have opened the door for women to come forward and report their rapes without worrying about the local Palin administration sticking them with the bill for the forensic investigation.

    But the more relevant point is that it took state action to reverse a clearly anti-woman policy in Palin's Wasilla, the very sort of policy that Obama took successful legislative action against.

  9. You keep pounding the issue of Wasilla carrying a bonded debt obligation of $20 Million. Madison, SD is about the same population as Wasilla and if I remember correctly, we are within $200,000 of our bonding debt limits, so what is our current debt load with a new pool, new water treatment upgrade, industrial park upgrades, street improvements, electric generator plant and other development projects the City is obligated for. I'm guessing we'll come pretty close to $15 Million or more. Does that mean Gene Hexom is a bad mayor? I don't think so.

  10. (a little off topic, but I started it ;-) )

    No, Anon... but it also doesn't mean he's a fiscal conservative, another claim the GOP would like to trick you into believing about their ticket.

  11. Hi economically_clueless,

    Yes I am an administrator and computer programmer for a company working with vision care employee benefits.

    And yes I'm against universal health care... you can find my essay on that here.

    And thirdly, yes, I am a Democrat... I joined the party last April.

    Kind regards,

  12. ""Vindication" on this issue would be a news item stating that Mayor Palin reversed this reprehensible policy herself and had sharp words for her police chief when he expressed such an backward position."

    Hi Cory,

    So once again, we are attacking Palin for simply being silent on an issue.

    Can we agree that if there weren't any rapes in Wasilla, we probably wouldn't expect her to issue a statement on rape kits? I mean how many socially backwards, yet dormant laws and policies are there in Madison? We probably won't know until something brings them to our attention.

    Right, so if the stats are true (and I welcome better stats) this rape kit policy was probably in effect and Palin never knew about it until 2000 when the state law came through. The police chief then starts a discussion about how he would rather charge the criminals (not the victims) for the cost of the rape kit rather than the taxpayers. (Which to me sounds like a sensible policy.)

    And Sarah Palin wasn't interviewed on the subject nor did she issue a press release.

    So now we have to speculate as to why Sarah would have stayed silent, and there are several possibilities:

    1) She considered rape kits a non-issue since there weren't any rapes (that we know of) during her time as mayor up to this new law.

    2) She agreed with the new AK law and felt no need to comment publicly on it. (I don't often hear newspaper reports about the opinions of each mayor in SD on every piece of SD legislation. Remember, the whole state wasn't interested in Sarah Palin's opinions when she was merely a mayor of a small town.)

    3) She didn't even hear about the new law. (Too busy to take notice?)

    4) She agreed with the chief of police's "make the criminal pay" stance, and felt like she had nothing to add to his statement.

    5) She privately hates women and wants rape to go unreported... but clearly that would be a bad thing to say to the newspaper.

    Now I know how tempting it is for Obama zealots to jump to (5)... but is that really the only valid deductive conclusion here?

    Smells like a whole lot of reasonable doubt to me. But hey, evidence isn't nearly as important as the accusation. So keep accusing, because something's bound to stick eventually.

    Kind regards,

    PS I wonder what Joe Biden thinks about rape kits... sheesh... no one's covering that.

  13. PPS: Who actually thinks it's logical to assume that Chuck Pulford's opinions are the same as Gene Hexom's on any given topic? Come on, people.

  14. Erin H. for president!

  15. I agree that Obama is a better choice for "traditional" feminists who tend to be pro-choice on the abortion issue. As for evangelical women, who would have been called "prudes" or "dogs" (Bone! Bone! Go for it, Palinmaniacs!) or worse at my high school in the 1970s, I'm not so sure. I think Sarah Palin offers some hope for them. At last, here's a "prude" who is also "cool." Geez, they're even making action hero dolls out of her image.

    When it comes to how rape victims and criminals are treated, Republicans have a great opportunity: Enact laws that require criminals to pay restitution to their victims. These laws should include all crimes, not only rape. Legislation would have to come mainly at the state level, however. It wouldn't matter who occupies the White House.

    Blood from turnips? Well, restitution can take other forms besides money. There is this thing called work, and another thing called garnishee wages. I watched a show about prison violence last night. These guys have a lot of potential energy that is going kinetic in the wrong ways because they have nothing to do. How about building prison factories and shops, putting inmates to work, paying them the bare minimum for prison life, and using the internally generated profits as restitution for victims? But now I'm getting off topic myself, into the realm of corrections reform.

  16. David: "never knew about it"? What happened to all that executive responsibility?

    "weren't any rapes in Wasilla"? The police chief said, "In the past we’ve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible." That suggests to me they did it, it happened.

    "being silent on an issue"? Exactly. Palin has been silent; McCain has been openly derogatory of women; Obama and Biden have a record of standing for women's rights. Obama-Biden is the better choice.

  17. Joe Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act. And in 2002, Biden sponsored S.2513, the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act to address a backlog of rape kits that weren't being processed.

  18. And who voted against legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to pay for rape kits? Yep, John McCain.

    Let's not forget that the woman who could be a heartbeat away from the POTUS believes the government should force women who have conceived from rape to carry their pregnancies to term.


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.