SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 6537





                        57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the Senate February 16, 2002

  YEAS 36   NAYS 13




President of the Senate


Passed by the House March 6, 2002

  YEAS 75   NAYS 19



I, Tony M. Cook, Secretary of the Senate of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is  SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 6537 as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on the dates hereon set forth.




Speaker of the

      House of Representatives









Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.  





Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                    SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 6537



             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington   57th Legislature        2002 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care (originally sponsored by Senators Costa, Winsley, Kohl‑Welles, Thibaudeau, Fairley, Kline, Jacobsen, Prentice, B. Sheldon and Keiser)


READ FIRST TIME 02/08/2002.

Providing emergency contraception to sexual assault victims. 

    AN ACT Relating to emergency care for victims of sexual assault; amending RCW 70.41.020; adding new sections to chapter 70.41 RCW; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  (1) The legislature finds that:

    (a) Each year, over three hundred thousand women are sexually assaulted in the United States;

    (b) Nationally, over thirty-two thousand women become pregnant each year as a result of sexual assault.  Approximately fifty percent of these pregnancies end in abortion;

    (c) Approximately thirty-eight percent of women in Washington are sexually assaulted over the course of their lifetime.  This is twenty percent more than the national average;

    (d) Only fifteen percent of sexual assaults in Washington are reported; however, even the numbers of reported attacks are staggering.  For example, last year, two thousand six hundred fifty-nine rapes were reported in Washington, this is more than seven rapes per day.

    (2) The legislature deems it essential that all hospital emergency rooms provide emergency contraception as a treatment option to any woman who seeks treatment as a result of a sexual assault.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 70.41.020 and 1991 c 3 s 334 are each amended to read as follows:

    Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms, whenever used in this chapter, shall be deemed to have the following meanings:

    (1) "Department" means the Washington state department of health((;)).

    (2) "Emergency care to victims of sexual assault" means medical examinations, procedures, and services provided by a hospital emergency room to a victim of sexual assault following an alleged sexual assault.

    (3) "Emergency contraception" means any health care treatment approved by the food and drug administration that prevents pregnancy, including but not limited to administering two increased doses of certain oral contraceptive pills within seventy-two hours of sexual contact.

    (4) "Hospital" means any institution, place, building, or agency which provides accommodations, facilities and services over a continuous period of twenty-four hours or more, for observation, diagnosis, or care, of two or more individuals not related to the operator who are suffering from illness, injury, deformity, or abnormality, or from any other condition for which obstetrical, medical, or surgical services would be appropriate for care or diagnosis.  "Hospital" as used in this chapter does not include hotels, or similar places furnishing only food and lodging, or simply domiciliary care; nor does it include clinics, or physician's offices where patients are not regularly kept as bed patients for twenty-four hours or more; nor does it include nursing homes, as defined and which come within the scope of chapter 18.51 RCW; nor does it include ((maternity homes)) birthing centers, which come within the scope of chapter 18.46 RCW; nor does it include psychiatric hospitals, which come within the scope of chapter 71.12 RCW; nor any other hospital, or institution specifically intended for use in the diagnosis and care of those suffering from mental illness, mental retardation, convulsive disorders, or other abnormal mental condition.  Furthermore, nothing in this chapter or the rules adopted pursuant thereto shall be construed as authorizing the supervision, regulation, or control of the remedial care or treatment of residents or patients in any hospital conducted for those who rely primarily upon treatment by prayer or spiritual means in accordance with the creed or tenets of any well recognized church or religious denominations((;)).

    (((3))) (5) "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, or joint stock association, and the legal successor thereof.

    (6) "Secretary" means the secretary of health.

    (7) "Sexual assault" has the same meaning as in RCW 70.125.030.

    (8) "Victim of sexual assault" means a person who alleges or is alleged to have been sexually assaulted and who presents as a patient.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to chapter 70.41 RCW to read as follows:

    (1) Every hospital providing emergency care to a victim of sexual assault shall:

    (a) Provide the victim with medically and factually accurate and unbiased written and oral information about emergency contraception;

    (b) Orally inform each victim of sexual assault of her option to be provided emergency contraception at the hospital; and

    (c) If not medically contraindicated, provide emergency contraception immediately at the hospital to each victim of sexual assault who requests it.

    (2) The secretary, in collaboration with community sexual assault programs and other relevant stakeholders, shall develop, prepare, and produce informational materials relating to emergency contraception for the prevention of pregnancy in rape victims for distribution to and use in all emergency rooms in the state, in quantities sufficient to comply with the requirements of this section.  The secretary, in collaboration with community sexual assault programs and other relevant stakeholders, may also approve informational materials from other sources for the purposes of this section.  The informational materials must be clearly written and readily comprehensible in a culturally competent manner, as the secretary, in collaboration with community sexual assault programs and other relevant stakeholders, deems necessary to inform victims of sexual assault.  The materials must explain the nature of emergency contraception, including that it is effective in preventing pregnancy, treatment options, and where they can be obtained.

    (3) The secretary shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  A new section is added to chapter 70.41 RCW to read as follows:

    The department must respond to complaints of violations of section 3 of this act.  The department shall convene a task force, composed of representatives from community sexual assault programs and other relevant stakeholders including advocacy agencies, medical agencies, and hospital associations, to provide input into the development and evaluation of the education materials and rule development.  The task force shall expire on January 1, 2004.


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