The feminist blogosphere has been whipped into a frenzy by the GOP's latest attack on reproductive rights. According to Nick Baumann from Mother Jones, Republican congressmen are trying to limit the use of government funds to pay for abortions with the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" bill (also known as "HR 3"). Even though there are already laws limiting government fund for abortion, like the Hyde Act, there have always been exemptions for cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is at risk. What this new bill aims to do is narrow these exemptions by redefining rape as "forcible rape" (though 70% of rapists don't use force).
This video explains it very nicely:
According to Baumann, HR 3 also limits the incest exemption by only allow federally funded abortions if the woman is under 18 and makes it unappealing for private insurance companies to offer abortion coverage by controlling tax exemptions and credits. On top of all that, this bill also limits the endangerment exemptions for pregnant women by stating only women who are physically threatened qualify for abortions. So 13 year old girls who are drugged, raped, and thinking of committing suicide after becoming pregnant are shit out of luck it seems. Way to go GOP!
But as irritating as this little stunt by Republicans is (it's highly unlikely this bill will pass the senate and be singed by President Obama), it isn't very surprising. We know this is their stick. Trying to control women's reproductive rights under the guise of just caring an awful lot is nothing new. What I find more offensive is the fact nine Democrats co-sponsored HR 3.
Here is a list of the Democratic co-sponsors:
Dan Boren [D-OK2]
Jerry Costello [D-IL12]
Mark Critz [D-PA12]
Joe Donnelly [D-IN2]
Daniel Lipinski [D-IL3]
Collin Peterson [D-MN7]
Nick Rahall [D-WV3]
Mike Ross [D-AR4]
Heath Shuler [D-NC11]
If you live in any of these districts and would like to contact your Congressman, then just click on the link and it will take you to their contact page. Sady Dolye has also written a script you can use if you'd rather call instead.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) summed up what an outrage this bill is (via Britni):
"It is absolutely outrageous," Wasserman Schultz said in an exclusive interview late Monday afternoon. "I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women. It really is -- to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself," Wasserman Schultz said.You can read the rest of the interview here (man I love Schultz).
"Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable," the four-term congresswoman added... Even though Republicans say they want government out of our lives, this is the most intrusive governmental act that we've probably seen to date in the personal lives of women," she said.
Feministing has a great post about what you can do to stop this bill that I would definitely recommend checking out. While I think it's great that Republicans are actually trying to cut the budget for once, but do they really need to do it by burdening rape victims? As if this latest attempt by the GOP wasn't enough, we also have a bill aimed at stripping Planned Parenthood from government funding (even though NONE of those funds go towards abortions) to look forward to in the coming days (HR 217). It really makes you wonder.