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Ear to the Ground

The Republican Attempt to Redefine Rape, Reprised

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Posted on May 3, 2011
Flickr / US Mission Geneva Some rights reserved

Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is one of the primary authors of the proposed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

Good sense and decency prevailed earlier this year when House Republicans, responding to being shamed, abandoned their attempt to block federal funding for abortions by redefining rape in the proposed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, but a new trick involving an interpretive companion document may now allow them to create the same effect.

H.R. 3—the anti-abortion bill—originally denied federal money for abortions to victims of statutory rape, making financial assistance available only to those who had suffered “forcible rape.” While the redefinition is gone from the original legislation, it has reappeared with a twist in a “committee report,” which would be used to interpret the law in the rare (ha ha) event that its meaning is contested.  —ARK

Mother Jones:

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.

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By TDoff, May 4, 2011 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

It’s ridiculous that the republicans appear to be having so much trouble trying to define ‘Rape’, since Paul Ryan has already done it. The most accurate and comprehensive definition of ‘Rape’, after all, is ‘The effect the GOPer ‘Path to Prosperity’ budget plan will have on the majority of the American people’.

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By bogi666, May 4, 2011 at 1:58 am Link to this comment
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Why is it that males, Repubicans, pretend christians and others define rape, a crime inflicted on women? Why is it that these same males set the laws which govern human female reproductive processes and deny human females that which exists in the animal kingdom which is the ability to terminate pregnancy, fetal development when the pregnant mother determines that survival of her offspring would be impossible due to weather conditions, lack or water/food. Badgers, wolverines, kangaroos are just a few examples of females animals that control their reproductive processes. REpubicans, pretend christians deny females humans that which exists in animal kingdom. It’s about control, males have not gotten over the realization of the ovum which was revealed 150 years ago. Males thought their sperm was the seed of life, but turned out to be the fertilizer for the ovum, the seed of life. Human females, in American, are denied the rights of females that exist in nature.

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