The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is moving to make changes in abortion law. The new No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H. R. 5939) has 173 co-sponsors—most of them Republicans. According to The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape, an article in Mother Jones that was written by Nick Baumann, John Boehner (R-OH) considers the bill a top priority for the new Congress. The bill, reportedly, includes a provision that rewrites the definition of rape.
Federal laws that have restricted the use of government funds for abortions have contained exemptions for pregnancies that resulted from rape and incest and for pregnancies that could endanger the lives of women. Evidently, the new legislation proposes that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.”
Laurie Levenson, an expert on criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said that the authors of the bill used language that was unclear. She thinks that some women will probably lose protection if the bill becomes law. Evidently, the term “forcible rape” is not defined in the criminal code—and the authors of the new bill did not provide their own definition of the term. In addition, there is no legal definition of “forcible rape” in some states. This would make it unclear whether any abortions could be covered by the rape exemption in those states.
What are some types of rape that would no longer be covered by the rape exemption if this bill becomes law? The rapes of women with limited mental capacity and rapes in which women were drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol.
Sources: Mother Jones