Wasilla was the only town in all of Alaska with this policy, and the state legislature had to pass a law to specifically stop the town's practice. A move that elicited complaints from Palin's hand-picked police chief and the mayor herself.
Hilzoy takes a closer look at this and draws a great contrast between VP candidates as a result...
[...] when Sarah Palin was mayor, Wasilla used to charge rape victims for their forensic exams. It's abhorrent, especially when you note that as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin had no problem raising [millions] to build a sports center, but drew the line at paying for rape exams.
But there are two points that are worth underscoring. First, this would have been bad enough if it was just a matter of being decent to women who have been raped. But it's not. Unless the police catch the guy in the act, forensic exams provide some of the best evidence against a rapist. Not collecting this evidence means significantly lowering your chances of convicting the man who did it. That means that the people who pay for this idiotic policy are not just the rape victims whose tests are not done, but any women their rapists might go on to rape in the future. Not collecting the evidence that would put rapists behind bars means more rape victims in the future.
You'd think that $5,000 to $14,000 a year would be a small price to pay for putting violent sex offenders behind bars. Apparently, Sarah Palin disagrees.
Second, Alaska had to ban this practice in order to qualify for funding under the Violence Against Women Act, which was, of course, sponsored by Joe Biden
[...] One Vice Presidential nominee turned her back on past and future rape victims. Another was looking out for them.
Oh, and guess who voted against the Violence Against Women Act? John McCain
So, in Sarah Palin's Mavericky World of Reform™, if you are raped not only are you the only crime victim forced to pay for your own investigation, but you get the added bonus of being forced to have the rapist's baby as well.
Feel the Feminism!
UPDATE: Sickening specifics from McClatchy (which has rapidly become the only useful news organization). [Emphasis mine]:
Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill -- signed into law by [former Governer Tony] Knowles -- that banned the practice statewide.
"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said
A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.
"(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.
It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.
"In the past we've charged the cost of exams to the victims' insurance company when possible," Fannon told the newspaper. "I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."
It was all about the tax burden. This is a town that Palin was comfortable putting $20 million in debt to build a rink for the "hawkey moms", but couldn't scrape up the relative change in the couch cushions to have the police pay to collect it's own fucking evidence? In a state where residents get an oil royalties check every year? Oh, and did I forget to mention that rape in Alaska is double the national average, and the state has led the country in per capita rapes 26 of the last 30 years?