House Republicans Plan to Redefine Rape to Cut Abortion Funding

GOP says to raped women: you’re on your own
Wingnuts • Views: 37,143

The inhuman, misogynistic “social conservative” side of the right wing has been getting steadily more aggressive since the election of Barack Obama, and now House Republicans have introduced a bill called the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (dubbed a top priority by Speaker John Boehner) that will redefine rape in order to eliminate federal abortion funding in many cases.

The disgusting rhetorical trick the GOP is using to promote this bill: they want to limit the rape exemption to “forcible rape” (a term that has no legal definition). Under the proposed law, for example, women who become pregnant after being drugged and raped would get no assistance. And children molested by sexual predators would get no assistance unless they were sufficiently beaten.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.) …

“This bill takes us back to a time when just saying ‘no’ wasn’t enough to qualify as rape,” says Steph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women’s Law Center. Laurie Levenson, a former assistant US attorney and expert on criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, notes that the new bill’s authors are “using language that’s not particularly clear, and some people are going to lose protection.” Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes. “There are a lot of aspects of rape that are not included,” Levenson says. 

As for the incest exception, the bill would only allow federally funded abortions if the woman is under 18.

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Last updated: 2021-06-05 2:51 pm PDT
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