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Republicans Trying to Redefine Rape

Thomas Whitley

In an attempt to fight one of the many culture wars that many members of the current GOP think are the only important issues, Republicans have introduced a bill to limit taxpayer funding of abortion. That may not be that big of an issue, but what is comes in section 309 (see text of bill here). The clause at issue is highlighted in purple. It says that a woman would not be required to pay for an abortion on "if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape." In other words, the 170 sponsors of the bill think that consent (technically, lack of consent) is not important to defining rape, just force. So, if a woman has Rohypnol slipped in her drink and is then raped OR has nonconsensual sex because she fears for her safety or life but there isn't actual force involved, then she should be required to pay for an abortion on her own.

This is almost difficult to comprehend, that so many people think it would be acceptable to redefine rape in such a way simply to have fewer federally funded abortions. I understand the anti-abortion position, it is one which I hold personally (though I know that decision is not mine to be made on behalf of someone else; every woman should have the ability to make that decision for herself). However, I cannot accept bill that would tell a woman that was drugged and raped that she was raped badly enough for her abortion (should she choose to have one) to be federally funded.

BridgidFR (twitter), says it very clearly:

Rape is not defined by lack or presence of force. It's defined by lack or presence of consent. No consent? It's rape.

It really is that simple. Trying to redefine rape for political gain is unconscionable.