ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland House of Delegates Monday unanimously passed a bill that would ease the burden rape victims face to complete a forensic examination that would hold up in court against purported attackers.
The bill passed 135-0.
The bill corrects a hurdle in current Maryland law that stipulates victims of rape can only obtain forensic examinations at specific hospitals, administered by specific nurses (DATABASE ). Failure to complete a certified forensic examination could hinder a victim's chances of prosecuting their attacker. Del. Ariana Kelly’s bill would make rape kit examinations available at all Maryland hospitals with emergency rooms.
New amendments to the bill establish a planning committee of stakeholders that will weigh in to make that goal a reality.
“It just makes common sense that we would be able to provide these exams,” Kelly said. “Maryland should be a leader and not a follower on these issue and other states are already doing this.”
If the bill passes, people involved in this new committee will likely look to other states like New Jersey and how they're able to provide these exams.
Nurses in New Jersey travel to victims in crisis.
Forensic nurses we've talked to say they're concerned that model will increase emergency room wait times for victims and put the quality of exams at risk.