House Republicans Want to Change the Definition of Rape

OK, this is too much. If you need any more convincing that Republicans are just plain evil, check out this story at Mother Jones on the GOP’s new plan to limit funds for abortion.

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.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old’s parents wouldn’t be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

Unbelievable!! Don’t these people have any human decency? Are they so brainwashed by their fundamentalist religions that they are incapable of empathizing with a young girl who has been impregnated by her own father and could die if forced to give birth?

And get this, there is no definition of “forcible rape” in the bill. So who decides what “forcible” means? Many states do not have an official definition of “forcible rape,” so it could be that no woman in those states could qualify.

It sounds like overt violence has to be involved in order for the House GOPers to certify that the woman or little girl can get funding for an abortion. Under this policy, according to Mother Jones, women who have been date raped, women who have been drugged and raped, and women who are taken advantage of because they are drunk or have cognitive disabilities would not meet the requirements.

If this bill passed, what would it do to public perceptions about rape. Before the women’s movement rapes were hardly ever successfully prosecuted. It was assumed that women “asked for it”–they were wearing the wrong clothing, or they acted in provocative ways. If the police thought the women didn’t fight hard enough, her case might not even get to court. For years a battle has been waged to change public perceptions around rape. But now we may be taken back to square one.

It’s really hard to believe that so many of these right wing Republicans claim to follow Jesus’ teachings. This bill is the product of heartless, cruel people with sick minds.