August 10, 2007
ACTION ALERT: LAST CHANCE TO STOP FORCED HIV TESTING!
An excellent veto pen
Housing Works, National Organization for Women's New York chapter, ACRIA and other groups received a welcome call from Gov. Eliot Spitzer's office yesterday, asking for input on a bill (S-6357 and A-9256) that forces rape suspects to submit to HIV testing. The legislation passed by huge margins in the State Senate and Assembly and Spitzer has said he supports it—but he hasn't signed it yet.
We can only hope that these phone calls (perhaps prompted by some last-ditch advocacy by GMHC) mean the Governor is having second thoughts about inking the irrational, fear-mongering bill. Organizations that signed this letter and individuals who oppose forced testing should call Spitzer's offices now! Remind him that the legislation:
- potentially misleads rape survivors to delay crucial health decisions regarding HIV infection
- potentially encourages rape survivors to discontinue lifesaving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a course of antiretroviral medications that can prevent HIV infection. A rape survivor may misguidedly stop PEP if a suspect tests negative for HIV—but later turns out to be innocent
- could turn nearly every rape prosecution into a media circus, allowing prosecutors to play on public fears and ignorance about HIV/AIDS
- fails to expand rape survivors' access to PEP
Major women's health and AIDS groups lined up against this bill but couldn't stop Albany's transparent attempts to look tough on crime at the expense of people living with HIV/AIDS. But we have one last chance to stop this unjust legislation...
Call Spitzer's office today at 518-474-8390 or 212-681-4640 and ask him to veto S-6357 and A-9256