Louisiana lawmakers have signed off on a piece of legislation that seeks to remedy a particularly egregious practice: charging rape victims for medical exams. The bill will allow hospitals to seek reimbursement from the state for its care of rape victims—care that includes STD tests, pregnancy tests, and DNA collection. The Violence Against Women Act prohibits hospitals from billing rape victims for forensic exams, but Louisiana institutions have not been compliant with the law. Parishes have refused to pay for victims’ care unless they report their assault to the police. In some instances, authorities administered lie detector tests to victims. Rep. Helena Moreno, who sponsored the new legislation, credited its success to rape survivors who have testified about their steep medical bills in front of legislative committees. “Without them coming forward, who knows how much longer this would have persisted?” Moreno said.
Read the full story at the New York Times.