Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Redefinition of Rape Needs to be Aborted

H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act."
I understood why some people might think this is a good idea...until I started to read the details, and understand the ramifications.
In order to allow for exceptions, this act has singled out "forcible rape" as eligible for funding, and set forth some somewhat bizarre classifications regarding other specific circumstances of sexual assault.

'The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion-- '(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest; or
'(2) in the case where the pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the pregnant female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.'


"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." --Nick Baumann

Also, if a woman is drugged and date-raped, coerced, or otherwise incapacitated without 'excessive force' (whatever that is supposed to mean), she's SOL: no fed funding. Statutory rape? Sorry kids. Oh, unless it's incest. Then it is covered...as long as you're underage. Incest between adults? Nope, not counted as rape by this definition. Limited mental capacity? Developmentally delayed? Not rape either, according to this proposal.

Who's in charge here?

Why is this happening?
I don't know, but it is very frightening.
The legislation regarding sexually based offenses is already precarious enough. What is going to happen if this wildly inappropriate 'redefinition' sticks? It's already devastatingly common for rapists to serve little to no time. Rape is an extremely under-reported crime. There are so many unpleasant factors at work here that less than a third of rape victims file charges. Unlike with other crimes, in this case the victim has to be prepared to be met with skepticism, and possibly face further pain and negative repercussions. There are shame, fear, and self-doubt to be contended with.
The language of this proposal makes the water even murkier, and could potentially make it even harder for a rape charge to stick or for justice to be served.

Here is an example of what this sort of definition of rape has done in the past to aid just ruling, as referenced in Salon:

"In this case, a man was accused of raping a sixteen-year-old girl. (A minor, but not incest: Already convicted by current standards, not enough for H.R. 3.) The attacker held her hands behind her back with one of his hands. I asked my partner to test this move's "forcefulness," by holding my wrists the same way; I was unable to break his grip, though he's not much larger than I am, and it hurt to struggle. The attacker then used his free hand and his leg to force open her legs, knocked her off-balance onto his crotch, and penetrated her. His conviction was overturned.
Because the girl was on top."

Sounds like the kind of results we need more of, no?

If you're new around here, and are getting curious about my personal views on abortion, you can get a pretty good idea by reading this previous entry.

You better believe I'm going to be watching carefully to see what happens with this.


  1. WOW. That's some serious bullshit. I believe, in a perfect world, the government wouldn't pay for any medical care for anyone- but if they DO pay for millions of live births to happen in hospitals each year, without any intention of investigating the morality of how those pregnancies happened, what gives them the right to do this? They don't investigate a woman's reasons for birthing a child (however selfish and immoral they may be) so why investigate a woman's reasons for NOT birthing a child. It's not impartial, there is no reasoning with these people, and it's abhorrent that these decisions are being made with complete disregard for the welfare of the people. Health care is such a private, personal thing. The government needs to stay out of it in every capacity, and free up funds for private citizens to give to NGOs that help people pay for things like this.

  2. Your government is writing, pro-life, religious moral values into health care law. They are making it very clear that while rape is a moral crime the consequence of it is not and therefor of no relevance. That pregnancy will not be considered as an injury unless the pregnancy its self is imoral. (Underage incest). The idea that a victim of rape should be expected to cary a pregnancy to term under these conditions sickens me. It shows a blatant disregard for her welfare as a real and whole person. (Chin-up lass, you'll be right. That is truly fucked-up.) I wonder how this might effect a teenage ward of the state that is raped. If the states responsibility to care for her is taxpayer funded then this would cause a conflict of legal values.

  3. Did you know that the fear of pain and torture is a more powerful motivator of compliance than its en-action. This is why the definition of force is inappropriate.

  4. I'm outraged and wrote a letter (of course). There's a petition at MoveOn.org (of course) that's reaching high numbers to overthrow this down right sheer bullshit. It is unfortunate to say that I am in fact a woman in America who has suffered from sexual abuse. It happens all too often and stays so "secret". I won't get into the whole sob story of the choice I had to make but it wasn't easy and these men who "run the show" will never know how I felt when protesters threw rocks at me that Monday morning, long ago, when I had to walk to the clinic. I am vehement. Your blog has me going strong knowing other women out there feel as strongly about this as I do.

  5. If anyone else is interested in the petition here is the link:

  6. I haven't managed to get too worked up about this, but that's only because I haven't quite managed to bring myself to BELIEVE it...I know I heard the words, but my brain rejects it as nonsense. Regardless of that, totally signing that petition!

  7. @Kana I had the same "does not compute" sort of reaction when I first read about this stuff, but I made myself stare at it until I processed it beyond the point of blind fury, so that I could sign the petition without throwing my computer across the room.