Iowa state Sens. Janet Petersen and Todd Taylor sent a letter on Monday urging Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird to reinstate funding from her office to support medical care for survivors of sexual assault.
The letter also seeks an explanation from the attorney general on her rationale for suspending critical victims services funding; an expected timeline for the office’s ongoing audit of victims services; and a list of all the services to survivors that have been suspended during that audit.
“Depriving victims of essential care while your office continues its months-long audit is an attack on justice,” Petersen and Taylor wrote in the letter. “Victims, advocates, prosecutors, and law enforcement deserve to know why needed resources are being withheld by your office. We stand united in urging you to reverse course and give survivors of sexual assault the financial ability to care for their bodies and move forward in their healing process.”
Attorney General Bird quietly halted state payments for emergency contraception and other critical medical services for sexual assault survivors upon taking office in January. The suspension was first reported in April, and remains in place despite serious concerns from sexual assault response teams and victim advocacy organizations.
The full letter is available here.
Petersen, D-Des Moines, serves on the Senate Judiciary and Health & Human Services committees, and is a longtime advocate for women, children, and survivors of sexual assault. Taylor, D-Cedar Rapids, is the ranking member on the Senate Justice Systems Appropriations Subcommittee.