I usually avoid commenting on the stupid things people say when crafting laws at the state level. It seems like a cheap way of making snarky comments when someone in a state legislature says something dumb and everyone across the country gets to cover their mouths and titter.
But as God is my witness, I cannot help myself right now. From Texas (via TPM):
One Texas GOP state representative is apparently confused about what “rape kits” are used for.
While the Texas House debated an anti-abortion omnibus bill for 15 hours Sunday night, Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) called for an exemption for victims of rape and incest, the Associated Press reported. Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R) objected, saying “rape kits” make that exemption unneccessary:
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” [Laubenberg] said, comparing the procedure to an abortion.
This woman should not be making laws.
If you are going to speak from a position of authority about a matter, particularly about a matter germane to a law you are trying to pass, the very least wee little bit you should do is learn what all the words and phrases mean in the sentences you are about to speak. If, for example, you are going to talk about a “rape kit,” you should learn what that is. Because it is your job, and your job is important.
As it happens, I know a lot about rape kits. In my capacity as a resident physician in the emergency department of a major city hospital and later a fellow in adolescent medicine, I have used such kits when patients have come in after being victims of sexual assault. The kits have an entirely forensic purpose, and there is nothing therapeutic about them. One uses them to collect physical evidence of a crime, and one must exercise extreme sensitivity when doing so, as it involves attention to a woman’s most intimate body parts in the immediate aftermath of incredible trauma.
Nothing gets “cleaned out.” Quite the contrary. If a woman has bathed before the kit is employed (at least as far as I was taught), evidence is often lost and the kit’s value in building a case is compromised.
Rep. Laubenberg owes it to the people of Texas to know these things. It is her job, just like an electrician should know how to wire your house in such a way as to provide power without burning it down. If she does not know these things and is not only crafting laws in ignorance but misinforming her constituents to boot, she has no business keeping her job and should find something else to do where being flagrantly misinformed isn’t a hazard to the people she’s meant to serve.