Friday, February 4, 2011

A New Low? - Republicans Trying to Redefine "Rape"

As reported by Raw Story, and lots and lots and lots of other places:
The broad anti-abortion measure would restrict federally-assisted abortion coverage to cases of "forcible rape," excluding in that definition instances where women are drugged and raped, where women say "no" but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, and various cases of date rape. It also excludes instances of statutory rape in which minors are impregnated by adults. The victim in all cases would be denied abortion coverage under Medicaid and forbidden from seeking health care tax benefits.
 So, Republicans are trying to say that only "forcible" rape = rape, and that rape ≠ rape.

I'm at a loss for words (and so too are Republicans, it seems, even though they're sponsoring the bill), so I'll let Democratic Representative from Florida Debbie Wasserman Schultz speak on my behalf:
It is absolutely outrageous. I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women. It really is -- to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself. Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable .... To have H.R. 3, the Republicans' third most important priority, say that rape cannot be an exception to federal funding for abortion...sends an incredibly strong message to women .... Even though Republicans say they want government out of our lives, this is the most intrusive governmental act that we've probably seen to date in the personal lives of women.
H.R. 3 won't pass the Senate, and if by some miracle it did, Obama would never sign it, but still ....

Sigh ... I had hoped that the new Republican House had more important issues to work on than old, tired, boring culture war issues, but I guess not.

Edit: After I wrote the first draft of this post, news came that the Republicans are apparently going to drop the "forcible rape" language from the bill - though there's no word yet on what the final bill will look like.

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