House unanimously approves Mosbrucker bill to ban do-it-yourself rape test kits

The state House of Representatives gave unanimous approval Monday to a bill by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker that would ban the sale and distribution of over-the-counter home sexual assault kits.

“This has been my most difficult bill in eight years, partly because of the ethics of those who are trying to profit off of trauma,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale.

Mosbrucker was referring to a New York company that had teamed up with a University of Washington sorority to sell their do-it-yourself home sexual assault kits until Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson ordered it to stop in a cease and desist letter last October. The company formerly did business under a different name, MeTooKits, and has received warnings, and cease and desist letters, from many states.

“This company has been in business since 2018 and there’s never been a prosecution from the kits they have sold. The evidence collected in your dorm room with an envelope and a cotton swab does not get to prosecution of a rapist,” said Mosbrucker.

“It’s heartbreaking because it provides false hope to victims who think they can use these kits in private to collect evidence, when in fact there is no evidentiary value and these kits are not admissible in a Washington court of law,” she added. “The sexual assault survivor might take a shower after using the kit, thinking they have secured evidence for prosecution, but in reality, that evidence is now washed away. Meanwhile, the company collects its profits and the rapist walks free.”

Mosbrucker said the kits are also not able to be put into the FBI’s criminal justice database, CODIS, which creates a DNA profile of a suspect and can help find repeat rapists.

“I’ve been briefed that the prices are as high as $60 for a do-it-yourself kit when the official sexual assault kits administered by a health care professional or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner are free in the state of Washington and can be legitimately used to secure a prosecution,” added Mosbrucker. “We don’t charge someone who has been raped. We provide everything they need for free.”

Mosbrucker noted she has the official sexual assault kit in her office, which is much different from the do-it-yourself kits.

“It has more than 15 pieces in it. It tests blood, urine, hair samples, and many other methods of evidence collection. It’s at least a four-hour process, not a few minutes in your room,” said Mosbrucker.

The 14th District lawmaker says she realizes the company may lose money if the bill becomes law.

“At the end of the day, I didn’t become a legislator in order to help a company make money, especially one with a cease and desist letter that states unlawful business practices. I became a legislator to do the right thing,” Mosbrucker told other lawmakers on the House floor.

House Bill 1564 passed 96-0. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov