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GOP's Newest Anti-Choice Plans Would Deny Rape Victims Abortions

If you're forcibly impregnated along with being raped, then you have to get medical care. A new bill pushed by Republicans would deprive many rape victims of access to abortion.

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That weekend, Hannah claims that she was provided the following excuses for why she could not receive a sexual assault medical forensic examination: She was drunk; she ate a sandwich; she was a liar; she didn’t know her attacker’s last name; the police had to authorize the exam; she was outside the hospital’s jurisdiction; she wasn’t reporting a real crime; she was blacked out; she changed her story; her case was already closed.

While suffering through this, Hannah was basically denied the right to take care of her body, eat, brush her teeth, or even to shower, because she didn’t want to destroy evidence. The only medical care she received for the rape was some drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV. 

Hannah’s case is sadly not unusual.  Many rape victims find sexist, suspicious medical and police officials are willing to further their trauma by blocking access not just to justice, but to medical care after a rape.  Women’s rights activists have discovered an epidemic of women being denied access to emergency contraception after a rape, even though the sooner the drugs are taken the more likely they are to work.  Some states have passed laws requiring that this access is provided, but since women are often stonewalled in getting rape kits done in the first place, there are holes in the system. And even if you do get the necessary rape kit, there's no guarantee that it will be processed.

Chris Smith and the 182 co-sponsors of HR3 don’t think rape victims have suffered enough.  On top of all these other miseries, they want those impregnated to prove the rape was somehow rape-y enough to get an abortion.  They want rape victims to have to convince bureaucrats---who may or may not be sympathetic to rape victims---that they were beaten enough, threatened enough, in enough fear of their lives before they are allowed funding to avoid giving birth to a rapist’s child.  Anyone who falls short will be told that she has to pay for it herself, with the implication being that she somehow asked to be forced to have sex and forced to be pregnant by a man gets off on raping women. 

The only silver lining in all this is that it’s a good opportunity to highlight how little anti-choicers care about women.

If you want to follow the online reaction, a Twitter hashtag labeled #dearjohn (for John Boehner, who called this bill a “top priority”) has been started.  You can learn more about the Twitter campaign from Sady Doyle, who started the hashtag.     

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the popular blog Pandagon. She is the author of It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments .

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