Urgent Action Required to Fight Unscientific, Stigmatising Nebraska Bill That Will Criminalise Body Fluid Assault on Public Safety Officers
By Edwin J. Bernard
February 1, 2011
This article was cross-posted from the blog "Criminal HIV Transmission."
This Friday, February 4th, the Nebraska State Legislature will debate The Assault with Bodily Fluids Bill which would criminalise striking any public safety officer with any bodily fluid (or expelling bodily fluids toward them) and includes a specific increase of penalty to a felony (up to five years and/or $10,000 fine) if the defendant is HIV-positive and/or has Hepatitis B or C.
The Bill ignores the fact that HIV cannot be transmitted through spit, urine, vomit, or mucus; punishes the decision to get tested for HIV; and will not keep public safety officers safer, but rather will reinforce misinformation and stigma about HIV.
Two major problems with the Bill are:
1. The proposed language in Sec. 2(3) is contrary to science
2. Codifying the breach of doctor /patient confidentiality in Sec. 2(5) is extremely serious, and should not be undertaken with no public health benefit
The Positive Justice Project (PJP) has produced a set of talking points (download here) that summarises the problems with the Bill, and with HIV-specific legislation in general. PJP highlights that the wording of the Bill is so broad that it would allow for the following Kafkaesque situations:
PJP asks anyone in the United States who cares about this issue to contact their State representative (using the talking points to highlight the many problems with the Bill) and specifically encourages any networks or individuals in Nebraska to contact:
State Senator Mike Gloor, who introduced the Bill.
Positive Policy is a multi-blogger forum for sharing developments in law, policy and activism relevant to people living with, working in and otherwise affected by HIV/AIDS.
Subscribe to Positive Policy:
April 4, 2013 - Patient Navigators: Ending the Epidemic -- A Blog Entry by Paul A. Kawata
March 26, 2013 - This Is a Huge Week for LGBT Equality! A Blog Entry in Positive Policy
November 1, 2012 - Vote Tuesday! Make Sure the HIV/AIDS Community Is Heard! A Blog Entry by Paul Kawata
October 9, 2012 - Damned If You Don't: A Blog Entry in Positive Policy
October 5, 2012 - Updated -- Canada's Supreme Court Redefines Risk: A Blog Entry in Positive Policy
A Brief Disclaimer:
The opinions expressed by TheBody.com's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TheBody.com itself.