IL Gov. Signs Laws Clarifying Rape, Requiring Contraceptives Coverage

Late last month Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) signed a law clarifying rape as any situation where someone continues to have intercourse after the partner asks to stop. Introduced by state Sen. Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac), the law-prompted by a three-year California court case charging a 17-year-old boy with rape for continuing sex after the 17-year-old girl asked to stop-passed the state legislature last spring and is believed to be the first such law in the country, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Polly Poskin applauded the new law, telling the Sun-Times, “This will be very helpful in acquaintance rape cases… Just because it’s he-said, she-said, just because they knew each other, just because she may have consented initially, if at any point she objects and he forcefully continues, it’s now a crime in the state of Illinois.”

Also last month, Gov. Blagojevich signed HB 211 into law, making Illinois the 21st state to require insurance coverage of prescription contraceptives. Though the new law-effective January 1-excludes abortions, sterilizations, and does not apply to employers philosophically opposed to birth control (e.g. Catholic Church), supporters including Rep. Ricca Slone (D-Peoria Heights) praised the move, insisting “… if we want to encourage women to take control of their reproductive lives and make responsible decisions about whether they’re going to have children or not, this is something they need to have access to,” reported the Peoria Journal Star.

With the price of birth control pills estimated at $30 a month plus doctor’s fees, studies show that women of reproductive age spend about two-thirds more than men on out-of-pocket healthcare costs, according to an ABC News report. Meanwhile, more than half of Viagra prescriptions received health insurance coverage just weeks after the anti-impotence drug hit US markets, ABC News reports.

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Chicago Sun-Times 7/29/03; Associated Press 7/30/03; Southern Illinoisan 8/3/03; Kaisernetwork 7/9/03; Peoria Journal Star 7/8/03; Feminist Daily News Wire

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