Republicans Decide to Tell US Women What Rape Means

H.R. 3 makes us cry more than John Boehner on a news show.

Given that President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address last week, political thinkers, enthusiasts, and of course, bigots, are all abuzz with opinions. America’s simpleton sweetheart Sarah Palin described the address as, I quote, “W.T.F.” and Ann Coulter (cue chuckles) asserted that the Democrats are “trying to turn us into Western Europe”.

Perhaps, though, the Republican party could use some of those European attitudes when it comes to hot topics such as abortion. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who opposes abortion, has asked that abortion be funded only in cases of “forcible” rape.

House Bill H.R. 3., the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” aims to change the legal definition of rape for the convenience of Boehner and his cohorts. Under the proposed law, drugging or co-ercing a woman into sex would not constitute rape. What would this mean for women? Here’s an example: suppose a woman is raped while unconscious or under the influence of alcohol. Under Boehner’s definition, she would not be able to receive federal funds (from Medicaid, for example) for an abortion. If a woman were raped by means of coercion, she, too would be denied access to funds for an abortion.

The problem with H.R. 3 is that “forcible” or “violent” rape has no legal meaning, which would make the proposed bill utterly difficult to apply. How does one give legally viable evidence of suffering “forcible” rape? Does the size of a bruise now measure the severity of the crime? How does one quantify violent rape as opposed to non-violent rape? Do you see the problem?  Summarily, H.R. 3 makes an unprecedented distinction between rape and “violent” rape, supposing in the process that not all rape is a violent act.

So what does count as rape under H.R. 3? Effectively, only underage victims of incest would be covered by the bill’s abortion-funding. According to recent studies, a full 70% percent of all rapes would not qualify as “forcible” under the proposed law.

By making violent rape impossible to qualify, the language of the bill is “a calculated move,” said a recent Salon article. What Boehner aims to do is to make rape cases impossible to prove so as to effectively eliminate access to federal abortion funding for all women, even in cases of rape. H.R. 3 makes the exception for child incest victims because, as Salon puts it, “no one wants to be the guy who stands up and says that he’s eliminating medical coverage for molested children.” Well-played, John.

H.R. 3 is a classic example of recent right-wing attempts to wipe out abortion completely.  By redefining rape in this funding bill, Republicans hope that they can change the language in other bills as well, eventually making it impossible for the federal government to recognize most rape in abortion cases. Thus, attempts to restrict abortion like H.R. 3 aim to pave the way to a completely abortion-free America. To me, that doesn’t sound like a very free country at all.

The bill is seen as unlikely to pass, but that only makes it marginally less frightening.  I never thought I would take a leaf out of Sarah Palin’s dictionary, but, “W.T.F?”

Fortunately, we can stop this. Sign a petition to remind the Republican party that all rape is violent rape.


UPDATE (2:30pm): Changed some language to clarify that H.R. 3 would restrict access to federal abortion funding, not to abortion itself.

About Veronica Glab

Veronica Glab (CAS '11) is the Feministka writer for the Quad. "Feministka" means "feminist" in Veronica Glab's native language, Polish. There are few things Veronica loves more than eating pineapple, taking long walks on the beach, and thinking about Rasputin's beard.

View all posts by Veronica Glab →

8 Comments on “Republicans Decide to Tell US Women What Rape Means”

  1. I note the word “simpleton” used when Ms. Glab described Sarah Palin. Like Veronia was of superior intelligences. Quite note worthy of her. Of course I have opinions about person who deride:

    I’m sure most of us have experienced a toilet running over. The brown water and the feces float over the toilet rim. When I read all the fitlh and execration against Sarah Palin, it remind me of that. It’s all a bunch of senseless crap of words from people of limited intelligence overflowing the lips of their mouth.

  2. How dare these people think that they can change what constitutes rape as they do nothing with these evil, cruel, sadistic rapists??? If they want to do something to cut costs, put all rapists, predators, abuseres & murderers to death instead of housing them or letting them go to destroy another life!!! And stop giving these rapists, predators, abusers & murderers social security- disability checks, housing assistance, medicare, fuel assistance & food stamps!!! Our government pays these monsters to stay home & prey on innocent children, women & men!!! This bill is insane. The present system is insane, cruel, & inhumane!!!

  3. content related comment. Sir, you’ll find the word “simpleton” (in the dictionary) means ignorant as well. Ignorant does not mean the same thing as unintelligent. Ms. Palin has been lampooned by SNL and others for her lack of political experience and know-how.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *