``chemical castration''

CobraBoy (tbyars@earthlink.net)
Sat, 24 Aug 1996 08:05:51 -0700

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuter) - California's state Senate approved
controversial legislation Thursday permitting the ``chemical
castration'' of child molesters by injecting them regularly with
a drug to reduce their sex drive.
The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 25-to-1 and then
sent it back to the state Assembly for its approval of
certain amendments, one of which would allow doctors to refuse
to perform the procedure.
The Assembly, which had approved the measure without the
amendments in May, was expected to act on the proposed
adjustments by the end of the month.
If signed into law, the California program would the first
of its kind in the nation, according to the bill's author,
Assemblyman Bill Hoge, a Republican.
Gov. Pete Wilson's office indicated the governor would back
the measure. ``This is a measure that the Governor can
support,'' a spokesman said.
Civil rights and psychiatric groups blasted the proposal.
``It's terrible,'' said American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) lobbyist Valerie Small Navarro of the bill. ``It's
unconstitutional. The bill has no due process protections.''
She said ACLU attorneys were mulling legal action.
The legislation mandates that an offender convicted twice of
certain sex crimes be chemically castrated unless the felon
voluntarily submits to surgical castration. Under the
legislation, first time offenders may also be castrated at the
discretion of the court.
The child molesters would begin receiving chemical
castration ``treatments'' one week before release from prison
and would continue receiving the treatments while on parole.
The cost would be $2,380 per parolee for biweekly injections
of the drug Depo-Provera. Some of the side affects of taking the
drug are diabetes and hypertension, opponents of the legislation
The injections would dramatically reduce the sex drive of
the offenders, thereby reducing the risk that they would commit
new sex crimes against children, Hoge said.
``Chemical castration has proved to be the most effective
treatment available to treat sex offenders,'' Hoge said. ``It's
almost 100 percent effective.''
The legislation was inspired in large part by recent
high-profile child molestation cases in the state. Hoge said he
authored the bill at the behest of a conservative women's group
in southern California.
``We've had so many victims that have come forward on this
legislation,'' Hoge said in an interview. ``It gives them hope.
It gives all of those that have been affected by the terrible
crime of child molestation hope for the future.''
The state Department of Corrections estimates there are
about 680 individuals on parole in California for the type of
sex crimes specified in the legislation, including sodomy by
force where the victim is under 13 years of age as well as
certain cases of child molestation where foreign objects are


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