With Republicans now back in control of the US House of Representatives one of their first orders of business seems to be a drastic legal redefinition of rape. The proposal has been met with outrage by many anti-rape activists, including South Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who says she "consider[s] the proposal of this bill a violent act against women." Though, three other Miami-area Representatives are co-sponsoring the bill.
Shortly after Roe vs Wade politicians opposing abortion quickly adopted laws that barred tax payer money from funding abortions except in the event of rape, incest or pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.
The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act introduced by Republican Rep. Chris Smith would radically change the exceptions to only include "forcible rape." The bill already has 173 co-sponsors in the House including Miami reps. Marco Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtenin and the ethics challenged
"By narrowing the Hyde Amendment language, Republicans would exclude the following situations from coverage: women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults," reports Talking Points Memo
. "As the National Women's Law Center's Steph Sterling puts it, this new standard of force 'takes us back to a time where just saying no was not enough.'"
In effect any woman who relies on any sort of federally funded health insurance and was, for example, the victim of a roofie-assisted date rapist would be forced to pay for her own abortion.
"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."
"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.
Though Wasserman Schultz is outraged by the proposal she doesn't fear that it will become law, and will quickly die in the Democratic controlled Senate.