Rape Victim Allowed to Sue After She is Raped, and Jail Guard Confiscates Emergency Contraception

A Florida rape victim who was subjected to the trauma of rape, arrest and then an illegal confiscation of her emergency contraception is allowed to sue, a judge in the state has ruled.

In essence, holy shit. This happened in America. A rape victim identified only as R.W. reported a rape on January 27, 2007. R.W., who was not named in court papers due to the nature of the attack, was subsequently treated at Tampa’s Rape Crisis Center.

As part of the post-rape procedure, R.W. was given two emergency contraceptive pills in order to prevent a pregnancy as a result of the rape. As instructed and is medically correct, the victim took one of the pills, saving the second to take twelve hours after the first so the pills would work as intended.

But R.W.’s situation was about to get worse. The first WTF moment is that when taking a report of the rape case, a police officer in Tampa noticed that the victim had outstanding warrants for two non-violent offenses, failure to pay restitution and failure to appear. Remarkably, R.W. was immediately arrested and taken to jail.

At the Hillsborough County Jail, jailhouse staff confiscated the second half of her emergency contraception, jeopardizing her ability to complete the dose and avoid pregnancy.

Birth Control Pills Hotly Debated

And when the 12-hour mark rolled around, jail guard Michele Spinelli refused to supply R.W.’s prescribed pill because the use of emergency contraception conflicted with her own religious beliefs.

R.W. was initially not granted the right to sue, but a judge who reviewed the case approved the motion and allowed it to go ahead. Should this rape victim be awarded damages after being denied her medication after a rape?