Republicans Trying to Redefine Rape

In an attempt to fight one of the many culture wars that many members of the current GOP think are the only important issues, Republicans have introduced a bill to limit taxpayer funding of abortion. That may not be that big of an issue, but what is comes in section 309 (see text of bill here).

The clause at issue is highlighted in purple. It says that a woman would not be required to pay for an abortion on “if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape.” In other words, the 170 sponsors of the bill think that consent (technically, lack of consent) is not important to defining rape, just force. So, if a woman has Rohypnol slipped in her drink and is then raped OR has nonconsensual sex because she fears for her safety or life but there isn’t actual force involved, then she should be required to pay for an abortion on her own.

This is almost difficult to comprehend, that so many people think it would be acceptable to redefine rape in such a way simply to have fewer federally funded abortions. I understand the anti-abortion position, it is one which I hold personally (though I know that decision is not mine to be made on behalf of someone else; every woman should have the ability to make that decision for herself). However, I cannot accept bill that would tell a woman that was drugged and raped that she was raped badly enough for her abortion (should she choose to have one) to be federally funded.

BridgidFR (twitter), says it very clearly:

Rape is not defined by lack or presence of force. It’s defined by lack or presence of consent. No consent? It’s rape.

It really is that simple. Trying to redefine rape for political gain is unconscionable.


5 thoughts on “Republicans Trying to Redefine Rape

  1. I read about this yesterday. I was appalled. I understand the anti-abortion stance, but I cannot comprehend such a cavalier attitude towards rape. My grandmother has a friend with a 13 year old daughter. Her daughter ‘consented’ to having sex with a 42 year old man. Under this provision she would have been unable to procure an abortion because there is no way they could have paid for it on their own. Can a 13 year old really consent to sex? Much less sex with a 42 year old man who knows better?

    This bill completely eliminates statutory rape and most instances of spousal rape. It also eliminates drug induced date rape. A child should not be forced to bear the child of a rapist. A woman who is drugged or coerced should not have to bear the child of her rapist. Have these politicians even considered the psychological damage such legislation could inflict on rape victims?

    I don’t agree with defining rape in degrees of acceptability and that’s what this bill does. It makes it seem that rape without force is somehow more morally acceptable than rape with force.

    I’m curious if there are any female politicians pushing for this bill. What are their justifications for this?

    I’ve rambled long enough–I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  2. One more thing:

    If you legislate degrees of rape, then could this bill (should it be made law) affect prosecution of date rapists and statutory rapists? Could lawyers not make the argument that this legislation indicates that those forms of rape are somehow not as harsh and therefore deserve lesser sentences? I would think such a legal argument could be made.

    1. I agree. That’s one of the other problems that I have with this proposal. I would not be surprised at all if this got signed in to law to see different punishments argued for rapists that didn’t forcibly rape their victims. Again, deplorable.

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