Today, House Republicans removed the term “forcible rape” in the recently proposed “No Taxpayer for Abortion Act.” Since the bill was introduced two weeks ago, a lot has happened. We’ve got you covered with a recap of the “redefining rape” controversy:
- Two weeks ago, House Republicans introduced the “No Taxpayer for Abortion Act.” Whatever your take on abortion is, it’s telling that this bill was a main priority of Republicans at the start of the new legislative session. Seriously, taxpayer money going toward abortions is one of our most pressing problems? I’m gonna have to disagree. The Hyde Amendment already prevents taxpayer money from going toward abotions. The new act would just make it permanent.
- Mother Jones then reported on rather big ripple effect of the legislation. Employers would be incentivized to offer insurance plans that don’t cover the costs of abortion, because the bill could prevent them from taking tax deductions for offering any plan that does cover abortion.
- Despite the Hyde Amendment, through Medicare, taxpayer dollars still go toward “cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman.” However, Nick Baumann discovered language in the new bill that suggests the Medicare exception would extend only to those victims of “forcible rape.” Um, isn’t rape, by definition, forcible? As Irin Carmon wrote, the act “could take statutory rape or rape during mental incapacitation or while intoxicated off the table.”
- The language, though, still wasn’t clear and didn’t match up with criminal code definitions. Here’s how it read:
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.
- Some problems: minors aren’t covered unless it’s incest. Another reason to look forward to your 18th birthday! And “forcible rape” never gets defined, which throws the whole thing into an even more confusing and muddled gray area. With all these questions, it’s really not clear what the bill’s creators were trying to do. Jon Stewart and Kristen Schaal summed that up nicely:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Rape Victim Abortion Funding|
- Not surprisingly, Republicans backtracked today and finally removed the language from the bill, replacing it with the wording from the original Hyde Amendment. This means one of two things: either the sponsors of the bill are hopelessly incompetent and lazy, or they actually tried to narrow the definition of rape. So, our government is run by either a bunch of bumbling buffoons, or evil henchmen trying to alienate women and not help those impregnated against their will. You choose which one’s better.