On Thursday Senator Kamala Harris introduced a key component of her campaign platform as she runs to become the first Black woman president of the United States.
Harris proposed that if elected she will allocate $1B to end the national back log of rape kits which have accumulated over multiple years, CNN reports.
The cost to test one kit ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 according to End the Backlog, a national non-profit organization. The organization was founded by Law & Order actress Mariska Hargitay. In order for states to receive funding, they would have to adhere to certain reforms like maintaining an annual account, report the number of untested kits, reducing the time needed to test the kits, and tracking the status.
The effort follows Harris’ previous record in reducing the backlog while she was Attorney General of California. “As California’s Attorney General, I made clearing the backlog of 1,300 untested rape kits at state-run labs a top priority – and we got it done within my first year in office. I announced a plan to dedicate that same focus on the national level,” she tweeted. For their work, Harris’ department earned the U.S. Department of Justice’s Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services.
While there is no certain number of rape kit backlogs End The Backlog estimates that the total number is in the hundreds of thousands across the United States.
Harris’ proposal follows her commitment to heighten the national conversation among women’s rights. In May Harris released a plan following the passing of a series of restrictive abortion laws. Harris used her campaign website to outline the details of The Reproductive Rights Act, which would require states to receive approval from the Justice Department before being implementing said laws.