Rape Redefined and Brought to You by Members of the US House of Representatives

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

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

130 thoughts on “Rape Redefined and Brought to You by Members of the US House of Representatives”

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  2. Tony Sidaway 1, February 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    “If the worst comes to the worst come to the British mainland (not Northern Ireland, sadly). Here the religion-obsessed bigots have been on the run for decades and they don’t have the power to interfere with women’s rights.
    Send me a ticket!!!!!

  3. Swarthmore Mom,
    I wouldn’t believe those odds. They way the House is already screwing up, I don’t think they will gain any seats overall in the Senate. That could change depending on if the Dems lose anyone elze to K street or retirement.

  4. rafflaw: I heard that there is a 75 percent chance that the republicans get the senate.

  5. If the worst comes to the worst come to the British mainland (not Northern Ireland, sadly). Here the religion-obsessed bigots have been on the run for decades and they don’t have the power to interfere with women’s rights.

  6. Lottakatz,
    It is getting very dicey for women out there. If the Republicans get control of both houses there are enough crazies to try to stop all abortions and even contraception. One more reason for a woman to stay away from the Right.

  7. Elaine, the language you cite is analogous to the ‘opt-out due to conscience’ laws that pharmacists have allowing them to refuse service to women by dispensing the morning after pill. There was a case in Iowa recently where the pharmacist actually broke he law (by hanging up the phone) and refused a request to disclose the name/location of another pharmacy that wold fill the prescription in question, one for a potential life-saving blood coagulant. The Iowa pharmacy board did not have a problem with the pharmacists actions after a complaint was brought.

    The legislation you quote appears to remove all pretense of non-discrimination, and discrimination is exactly what it is, by not mandating any alternative action on the part of the hospital to mitigate harm. I can not believe that this law would withstand a constitutional challenge because it discriminates against women on its face.


  8. Woosty,
    Thanks for the Natalie Merchant video. It was great, but what was up with the mask? It was distracting to the song a little.

  9. ‘This is quite simply a gang who are so invested in power that the right to say yes or no to the beginning or ending of life is no longer a dialogue between Wo/Man and G*d, because they actually think they are G*d.”

    …a lowly thought….it may also be about $$$$$, plain and simple.
    The article at the end of Elaines link says that under this new bill, for profit hospitals would not be held to EMTLA standards. Another way to control resources, which ultimately controls procreation anyway….

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