The GOP still wants to redefine rape
3 May 2011
Remember House Bill H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”? When they developed the bill in late January of this year, Republicans initially inserted language indicating that only victims of “forcible rape” would be allowed to receive federal funds for abortions. To be precise, this bill only applies to women who are so poor they cannot afford the cost of an abortion. As I wrote back in February:
It reduces the definition of rape to “forcible” rape — thus dangerously raising the standard of proof for that crime and eliminating statutory rape. Thus, if an impoverished 14-year-old girl is impregnated by her 30-year-old “boyfriend,” she cannot seek federal assistance to get an abortion. The bill limits the term incest to sex with minors; as a result, an impoverished 18-year-old girl raped by her father or uncle is out of luck.
The public reaction to that wording was so quick and angry that the bill’s sponsors quickly withdrew it. Now, Mother Jones magazine shows in a terrific piece, “The GOP’s Stealth Plan to Redefine Rape,” that language has simply been moved from the bill’s overview text to the committee report that accompanies it. Judges use committee reports to interpret Congress’s intent, so they have become a backdoor means of inserting far more radical concepts into bills than appear on the surface.
In this case, the committee report for H.R. 3 states that it will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape.” This means that the same girls I mention in the quote above would be forced to give birth to their babies. As would a severely developmentally disabled 13-year-old girl impregnated by a gang of boys at her school, and a 15-year-old girl who had no physical evidence to prove she’d been forcibly raped but still hoped to obtain assistance for an abortion due to her extreme youth.
Thanks, GOP! Next on their agenda: finding a way to legalize beating my grandmother, stealing money from the Salvation Army, and requiring the blind to relocate to Antarctica. Can re-enslaving African Americans be far behind?