From Mother Jones: House GOP wants to redefine “rape” so that they can limit fed funding for abortions

[TW for sexual violence]

[h/t to corkingiron]

I have nothing to say to add to the MJ article (it just makes me mad and very sad), but I do want to point to a website that gives you the information you need to locate contact information for your federal congress members.

Contact them today.


From Mother Jones (these are excerpts – you should read the whole thing):

Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

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.

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville takes this on and, like normal, is brilliant:

There are so many things wrong with this proposed legislation, I hardly know where to begin: The implicit redefinition of what constitutes rape, the ramifications of that redefinition for all survivors of sexual violence (not just the pregnant ones), the revictimization of survivors, the policing of women’s bodies and choices, the auditing and ranking of survivors of rape, the auditing and ranking of various acts of rape itself, the condescending and infantilizing paternalism that Other People know what’s best for a pregnant woman and survivor of rape, the virtual impossibility of being able to “prove,” presumably in a court of law, that one was raped (forcibly or otherwise) in time to secure an abortion… There are so many rape culture tropes being served here, I could frankly spend the entire day documenting the innumerable manifestations of misogynistic fuckery at work here.

But instead I’m going to focus on but one truly shocking aspect of this proposed legislation which probably won’t get a whole lot of attention: The proposed law effectively, if not by design, gives veto control over terminating pregnancies resulting from rape to the rapist.


6 thoughts on “From Mother Jones: House GOP wants to redefine “rape” so that they can limit fed funding for abortions

  1. Thanks for the h/t. This proposal seeks not only to overturn what limited advances women have made in gaining control of their reproductive rights; it also seeks to overturn the hard-earned gains in control of their sexuality.
    But I think – if there is pushback and it is hard – the social conservatives have made a strategic error. While there is a great deal of muddled thinking on abortion rights,the same cannot be said for a return to an older, medieval view of rape.

  2. seems like republicans don’t have daughters, sisters, mothers, how can they know it is never going to happen to a member of their family, and how can they be so religious and have no compassion?
    thank you for this information

  3. Thanks for the Shakesville reference. Wow! I am so impressed by people who can turn rage into such elegant prose so quickly- it takes me days to do that, when I manage at all.

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