During the time that Republican vice presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin led Wasilla as mayor, sexual assault victims in the Alaskan city were billed for the cost of rape kits and forensic examinations, according to a story published in the Associated Press on September 11.
State legislators passed a bill to stop the practice in 2000, after Palin had already been in office four years as mayor, and over the objections of the Wasilla police department. It is unclear whether the mayor knew about the billing practice, which was unique in the state, or tried to stop it.
In response to the discovery, a McCain-Palin campaign spokeswoman said Palin “does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test.”
The Wasilla police department billed sexual assault victims and their insurance companies for the kits and the forensic exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 at the time. The package of sample containers, swabs and other medical supplies is used to collect evidence from women after they have been attacked.
Alaska, where Palin has been governor since 2006, routinely has the highest reported rate of sexual assault in the nation, 2.6 times the national average.