GOP Tries to Redefine Rape (Again), as "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion" Bill Comes Up for House Vote
Tomorrow is a big day in the battle for reproductive rights: the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on HR3, aka the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." As we all (hopefully) know by now, the bill would have numerous odious consequences. As Raw Story reports:
The broader impact of H.R. 3 would be to eliminate employer deductions for health insurance plans that cover abortion, effectively raising costs for businesses that provide abortion-inclusive health care for employees. The legislation could also deny Medicaid-based abortion care to women even if their health may be adversely affected by carrying the pregnancy to term.
But that's not all. Another morally bankrupt implication of the bill would be the redefinition of rape to mean only "forcible" rape. You may remember that a few months ago GOP anti-choicers tried to sneak language into the legislation that would have had the effect of all but gutting the rape exemption that exists for federal abortion funding. When there was a huge outcry over that maneuver, the GOP had to back down from the language. But now, they've found a new, even sneakier way to achieve the same outcome. Mother Jones' Nick Baumann brings us the story:
The backdoor reintroduction of the statutory rape change relies on the use of a committee report, a document that congressional committees produce outlining what they intend a piece of legislation to do. If there's ever a court fight about the interpretation of a law—and when it comes to a subject as contentious as abortion rights, there almost always is—judges will look to the committee report as evidence of congressional intent, and use it to decide what the law actually means.
In this case, the committee report for H.R. 3 says that the bill will "not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape." The bill itself doesn't say anything like that, but if a court decides that legislators intended to exclude statutory rape-related abortions from eligibility for Medicaid funding, then that will be the effect.
And while we're on the subject, watch this video from the Guttmacher Institute that elegantly illustrates key facts about U.S. abortion. (Some of them may surprise you.)