On Terry Musser’s departure, and the importance of bipartisan politics

Today, State Representative Terry Musser (R-Black River Falls) announced he will not be running for reelection in 2008. One of the main reasons he cited for this decision is the persecution he received by members of his own party when he decided to defy his party’s leadership and support the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims bill (CCRV).

As party lines in this country grow thicker every year, it is increasingly rare for a member of the Wisconsin state legislature to break the mold and create bipartisan support for a bill. By co-sponsoring the CCRV bill, Rep. Musser did just that. Due to his brave actions, rape victims in Wisconsin are now able to receive information about and access to emergency contraception in all emergency rooms across the state. Without Musser’s vocal support,this commonsense legislation would not have passed.

CCRV was not a radical bill. In 2004, a survey found that 82% of Wisconsin voters supported granting rape victims access to emergency contraception. When Rep. Musser chose to support the bill, he was not just voting on his own conscience, he was voting as a representative of his constituents, the vast majority of whom supported this bill. Where then, is the controversy? Why then, was there a need to peg Rep. Musser as the “secret liberal” of the State Assembly?

With sincere gratitude, NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin thanks Representative Musser for selflessly standing up for sexual assault victims in our state. In the future, we hope that bipartisan actions to support victims of violence will be commended rather than punished.

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