On Family Values

Republicans and conservatives have often claimed to be highly concerned with “family values”.  Apparently Sarah Palin’s definition of “family values” does not include “basic human decency”.

In 1997, new mayor Sarah Palin fired Wasilla police chief Stambaugh. In his budget, he had included funds for rape kits so that the victims would not have to pay for the collection of evidence after a rape. Charlie Fannon, the new police chief and friend and supporter of Sarah Palin decided that he would shave $5000 to $14000 off his annual budget by removing the rape kit money.  For the next three years, Palin stood by as the town charged each rape victim $300 to $1200 for their exams following a rape.  Let me repeat that…

Under Sarah Palin, Wasilla charged RAPE VICTIMS for their rape kits.

The police chief claimed that he didn’t want the tax payers to have to pay for rape kits that most of them weren’t even going to use.  Instead, he wanted to charge the insurance companies.  Here’s one problem with that argument: taxpayers with health insurance pay for their health insurance.  If the cost of the health care provided goes up, so do the insurance premiums.  Here’s another problem: he apparently forgot that working class citizens often have a hard time affording sufficient health insurance (if they have any at all).

Fannon felt so strongly about the subject that in 2000, when the Alaska state legislature passed a bill to require the local governments to pay for the exams, he protested the bill saying that they’d have to find money to pay for it.  That bill was passed to target the one Alaskan municipality that observed this practice… Wasilla.

Now, to be fair, there are other places in the United States where rape victims are still charged.  In North Carolina, three thousand rape victims have to pay to some extent or another every year.  Most places have adopted a much more progressive stance however.  In my home state of Illinois, I’m proud to say that in 2001, an Illinois state senator filed a bill that got passed into state law so that not only are rape kits free, but victims can receive reimbursement for counseling and loss of income as a result of the rape.  His name? Barack Obama.

Now I ask you.  How does charging for rape kits fall under the Republican party’s self-proclaimed focus on “family values”?  Perhaps her views and lack of compassion or decency are not typical of the party, but they’re the ones who put her out there as the Vice Presidential nominee.  All I know is this… those aren’t the values of my family.

AlaskaReport article that most facts were taken from, though you will see them repeated across the web: Life begins at rape… ask Mayor Sarah Palin

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