Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) introduced the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act in the Senate last week. The CARE Act (SB 3945) would require hospitals to routinely offer emergency contraception (EC) and post-exposure treatment for sexually transmitted infections to sexual assault victims.
According to the bill, between 25,000 and 32,000 rape and incest victims become pregnant every year. It is estimated that 22,000 of these pregnancies could be prevented if victims had timely access to EC. While exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days, EC is most effective (95%) if taken within 24 hours.
The bill provides for risk assessment of sexual assault victims and appropriate treatment such as antiretroviral drugs, which have been proven to prevent infection of HIV. The bill would require that risk assessment and treatment be available to all victims, regardless of ability to pay.