|He's not crying for pregnant rape victims.|
Current law allows federal funds (usually for Medicaid) to be spent on abortions only for women who have been raped or are the victims of incest. We think those restrictions are bad enough, but the new class of House Republicans want more. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would outlaw the use of federal funds for abortion except in the case of "forcible rape." The incest exemption would only apply to minors.
"Forcible rape" doesn't have a legal definition, but in general the idea is to exclude pregnancies that result from date rape, statutory rape or rapes that happen when women are physically incapacitated.
So if you're drugged and raped, and you get pregnant, too bad. If your father rapes you, and you get pregnant, too bad. Those rapes apparently don't count.
As Amanda Marcotte puts it, the bill's sponsors apparently
believe the misogynist stereotype that all women, especially those who claim to be ill or victims of crimes, are lying whores until proven otherwise. Or just lying whores, regardless of the evidence they produce. And so, to make sure those lying whores don’t get their hands on those delicious, orgasm-inducing uterine scrapings, the bill has language in it that, in essence, assumes that 70% of rape victims weren’t really raped. The exception is only for “forcible rape”, which is vaguely defined, but in practice tends to mean that anything short of getting your ass beat down means you weren’t “really” raped. Even if you’re a 13-year-old who was impregnated by a 30-year-old. Also, if you happen to get pregnant by your abusive, rape-y father on your 18th birthday, you will get no funding to make sure you don’t give birth to your own brother.
In Salon, Sady Doyle puts the Republican push for the bill in a larger context, noting that the bill's reference to "forcible rape"
brings us back to an ancient, long-outdated standard of rape law: "Utmost resistance." By this standard, a rape verdict depended not on whether the victim consented, but on whether outsiders thought she resisted as hard as humanly possible. Survivors rarely measured up.
Meanwhile, Time magazine's Amy Sullivan tried to figure out if there really were a lot of "false rape claims" being by made by wily money-hungry young pregnant women in an attempt to bilk the government out of money. The answer, of course, is no.
Eligibility rules ... differ by state, but many states are like Tennessee, which requires a doctor to certify that "there is credible evidence to believe that the pregnancy is the result of rape" and to attach "documentation from a law enforcement agency indicating the patient has made a credible report as the victim of incest or rape" before Medicaid will consider issuing payment for an abortion procedure. ...
So that scourge of false rape reports--or even, let's say, "non-forcible" rapes? It doesn't exist. I couldn't find numbers more recent than 2001, but these shocked me. In that year, the total number of abortions covered by Medicaid was 56. That's all abortions for cases in which the mother's life was in danger, the pregnancy was a result of incest, or in the case of rape. Another 25 were covered by state Medicaid programs. Even assuming that every single one of those abortions was to end a pregnancy caused by rape, that's 81 abortions paid for in part with taxpayer dollars. Nationwide. That's roughly $32,000 total for first trimester procedures.
So, yeah, this is not exactly what is busting the budget. Indeed, I imagine there are many rape victims who choose to pay out of pocket for an abortion, even if they can't really afford it, rather than going through the humiliation of trying to prove they've been raped to the satisfaction of government bureaucrats.
UPDATE: The Republicans have removed the "forcible rape" language from the bill. But there is still plenty about the bill to hate.
If you're American, and want to do something about this bill, here's one practical suggestion: There are a number of Democrats who have signed on to co-sponsor the bill. I suggest you contact them and let them know how you feel. You can find info on how to contact them on Pandagon.
Or you can contact your representative by clicking on the banner below:
If you enjoyed this post, would you kindly* use the "Share This" or one of the other buttons below to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or wherever else you want. I appreciate it.