Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault / Politics / Reproductive Rights / Women and Gender

If At First You Don’t Succeed…: GOP Restricting Abortion and Still Attempting to Redefine Rape

Today, the House votes on H.R. 3, the douchebag misogynistic legislation that would restrict abortion coverage and redefine rape.  Now for those of you who’ve been following the onslaught of anti-choice legislation (although I’ve gotta admit it’s been a nightmare to do so…they just keeping coming…like zombies), you might be saying, wait a minute…I thought this bill already tried to redefine rape and failed??  Yep, this is the same legislation, called “Stupak on Steroids,” that put in the offensive term “forcible rape,” as if rape can be segmented into different categories.  While the term was removed, those tricksy Republicans launched another attack; one the publication Mother Jones calls a “sneak attack.”

Instead of blatantly using the term forcible rape, they’ve addressed the issue of statutory rape by using a committee report for the bill, claiming H.R. 3 will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape.”  But as Mother Jones journalist Nick Baumann points out, the bill itself doesn’t contain any language that makes that statement.  So the GOP is trying to use smoke and mirrors to garner the same results: redefine rape.  Ann O’Leary, UC Berkeley law school lecturer and Hillary Clinton’s legislative director in the Senate, declares,

“Unfortunately, it is sometimes the practice on Capitol Hill for Members of Congress and their staffs to use [committee] reports…to try to manipulate the meaning of the language passed by Congress.  It is clear here that the committee report tries to narrow the meaning of rape.”

In addition to redefining rape, according to the National Network of Abortion Funds, H.R. 3 would:

  • Permanently restrict abortion coverage in the federal Medicaid health program, worsening the effects on women of the damaging Hyde Amendment
  • Force more women than ever to use money they need for rent and food to cover the cost of an abortion
  • Push women to risk their lives and health in order to end a pregnancy if an affordable abortion is not available to them
  • Ban abortion coverage in the new health care exchanges and put new taxes on employers and individuals who pay for abortion coverage through health plans

Think this bill will save taxpayers tons of money?  Think again.  The federal government doesn’t fund abortions except in the cases of rape, incest and medical endangerment.  This means that Medicaid only covers a few hundred abortions a year.  And H.R. 3 unnecessarily burdens small businesses and punishes individuals’ liberty, something the GOP claims to champion.

Oh but H.R. 3 keeps getting better.  It also introduces abortion and rape audits.  If a person used a tax credit or deduction to fund their abortion, the IRS would question people as to what prompted their abortions.  Women would be forced to disclose and provide proof as to whether or not they endured incest, rape or their life was in danger.  This bullshit bill puts the “burden of proof onto tax payers” and ultimately onto rape and incest survivors.

Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued this statement:

“This bill gets more outrageous and insulting by the day. Not only would a woman have to describe her sexual assault to the police, but she could then be forced to relive that horrifying experience with an agent from the IRS. The 221 members of Congress who signed their names to this egregious bill must explain to their constituents why they want to give the IRS authority to audit rape survivors.”

But the GOP aren’t the only ones with a skewed notion of what constitutes rape.  When the FBI gathers stats on violent crime in their Uniform Crime Report (UCR), they only define rape as vaginal penetration by a penis.  So statutory rape, anal and oral rape, and rape under the victim’s use of drugs and alcohol don’t actually “count.”  Gee, thanks federal government for undermining both women and men’s traumatic experiences.  WTF?!  Rape is rape.  Period.

Take action now!  Let your Representative know you oppose this heinous bill.

UPDATE: Sadly, H.R. 3 passed the House…sigh.  But the fight is not over yet. The legislation now goes to the Senate…

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One thought on “If At First You Don’t Succeed…: GOP Restricting Abortion and Still Attempting to Redefine Rape

  1. Pingback: Why We Need Planned Parenthood: My Post for the “My Planned Parenthood” Blog Carnival

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