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GOP’s Move to Redefine Rape

February 2, 2011

‘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.

So says the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” introduced to the house by Rep. Christopher Smith of New Jersey. It’s unlikely that this act will pass in its current form, but it does show an active attempt by house Republicans to not only limit access to abortion, but define what constitutes “real rape.”

The term “forcible rape” does not have a legal definition. It is simply an attempt by right wing politicians to exclude the more insidious forms of rape–date rape, statutory rape–from the term’s definition. From Mother Jones:

“This bill takes us back to a time when just saying ‘no’ wasn’t enough to qualify as rape,” says Steph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women’s Law Center. Laurie Levenson, a former assistant US attorney and expert on criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, notes that the new bill’s authors are “using language that’s not particularly clear, and some people are going to lose protection.” Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes. “There are a lot of aspects of rape that are not included,” Levenson says.

As for the incest exception, the bill would only allow federally funded abortions if the woman is under 18.

Whether or not this bill will pass, it is a deliberate and brazen attempt at re-framing the lexicon in a way that limits women’s rights.

Sign the petition at and let your representative know you find this reprehensible.

And here are some links:
Mother Jones
New York Times

SF Gate
Huffington Post
Washington Post

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 2, 2011 7:36 pm

    I have also blogged about Boehner the “rape apologist” over on my blog.

    Doesn’t all rape involve some sort of force? To suggest otherwise is to move us backward 100 years (or more).

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