From The Erstwhile Conservative: One would think that those job-jobs-jobs House Republicans would by now have come up with a magic law that would cause the unemployment rate to fall to Clinton-era respectability. One would think.
And one would think that H.R. 3—the third bill out of the House Republican moot chute—would be named something like the, “Get The Lazy Unemployed Back to Work Act.“
But nope. H.R. 3 is titled, the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.” Get that? After two years of complaining about Obama’s economy and bemoaning the lack of job growth, newly empowered Republicans have managed to pass a futile health reform repeal bill and now are working on what Sady Doyle at Salon has called, “John Boehner’s push to redefine rape.” And Billy Long is right in the middle of it.
Yes. Our congressman, Ozark Billy, is co-sponsoring a bill that redefines rape.
The proposal is ostensibly aimed at prohibiting “taxpayer funded abortions and to provide for conscience protections, and for other purposes.” It’s those “other purposes” that should worry women everywhere.
Sady Doyle discusses the proposal and those other purposes in the context of the Hyde and Stupak amendments, major topics during the health care reform fight last year:
Whereas Stupak-Pitts provides an exemption if “the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest,” and Hyde contains exemptions that are similar, H.R. 3 only provides exemptions if the pregnancy results from “an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.”
Get that? “Forcible.” “If a minor,” it must be “an act of incest.” The changes are intentional and they are not trivial, says Doyle:
This is a calculated move, which will make exemptions for rape and incest survivors practically unenforceable.
I know it’s hard for some people to believe, but there are anti-choice folks out there who don’t think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, rape or incest included. And whittling away at the definition of rape certainly narrows the field of potential candidates.
Doyle makes her case about what the choice of language means:
Those who were raped while drugged or unconscious, or through means of coercion, would not be covered. Survivors of statutory rape would not be covered: “if a minor,” one is only covered in case of incest. And if one is a survivor of incest, and not a minor, that’s also not covered. Studies of how rapists find and subdue victims reveal that about 70 percent of rapes wouldn’t fall under the “forcible” designation.
Doyle also points out that there is no definite legal understanding of what constitutes “forcible rape,” and then the kicker:
…every survivor who finds herself in need of abortion funding will have to submit her rape for government approval.
Government approval. Not only would the rapist victimize her, but a woman could be victimized again by a bureaucrat or judge—a rape panel?—who may determine her case doesn’t comport with the “ancient, long-outdated standard of rape law: ‘Utmost resistance’“:
There’s an example of how “utmost resistance” worked in the 1887 text Defences to Crime. In this case, a man was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. (A minor, but not incest: Already convicted by current standards, not enough for H.R. 3.) The attacker held her hands behind her back with one of his hands. I asked my partner to test this move’s “forcefulness,” by holding my wrists the same way; I was unable to break his grip, though he’s not much larger than I am, and it hurt to struggle. The attacker then used his free hand and his leg to force open her legs, knocked her off-balance onto his crotch, and penetrated her.
His conviction was overturned. Because the girl was on top. Then, there were the witnesses: One man watched it all, and noted that “though he heard a kind of screaming at first, the girl made no outcry while the outrage was being perpetrated.” The physician who examined her testified that “there were no bruises on her person.” It was therefore determined that the encounter was consensual. In the words of Defences to Crime, “a mere half-way case will not do … this was not the conduct of a woman jealous of her chastity, shuddering at the thought of dishonor, and flying from pollution.” Stopped screaming eventually? You wanted it.
“Rape law is filled with cases like these,” Doyle says.
The good news about all this is that led by Doyle, there is something of a public outcry about the games anti-choice fanatics are playing with the language. The bad news is that even if the language is corrected, the bill will move ahead and may become federal law.
Besides Ozark Billy Long, here are other co-sponsors from Missouri:
Vicky Hartzler; Todd Akin; Jo Ann Emerson; Sam Graves; Blaine Luetkemeyer
And out of only a handful of Democratic co-sponsors, naturally the Democratic impostor from Oklahoma, Dan Boren, is on the list.
Here is Billy Long’s contact information:
Joplin: 2727 E. 32nd St., Suite 2 ZIP: 64804
Springfield: 3232 E. Ridgeview St. ZIP: 65804
Phone: (417) 889-1800 Fax: (417) 889-4915
Washington, DC: 1541 Longworth HOB ZIP: 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6536 Fax: (202) 225-5604
Official website contact page: https://long.house.gov/contact-me