Redefining Rape Is Needless (and Shitty)

1 Feb

If you’re reading this post, you probably already know about H.R. 3. You know, the nasty House of Representatives’ bill that ends taxpayer funds for abortion for ever and always, amen, while sneaking in a redefinition of rape.

The  bill sucks for plenty of reasons that don’t need to be hashed out here.  (Although I must say that it’s very anti-business in that it pressures  insurance companies to stop offering abortion coverage, among other things. Oh wait. Pro-business Republicans are sponsoring it? Well now I’m just confused…. )

But I digress. The bills’ redefinition of rape is truly horrifying: It ignores the realities of silence and confusion that accompany so many rapes, especially those on our college campuses, and it displays the disgusting insensitivity of many of our representatives when it comes  to women and the issues we face.

Time magazine has an outstanding blog that explains just how disgusting this redefinition is, because there is absolutely no need for it.

Regardless, the bill got me wondering: How does a woman go about getting Medicaid funding for an abortion if she’s been raped (one of the three situations–along with a pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother or one caused by incest–for which the Hyde Amendment allows federal money to cover abortion services)? Is it just a matter of walking into an abortion clinic, declaring you’ve been raped, and getting a check from Medicaid four weeks later to cover the cost of the abortion?

Not exactly. Eligibility rules under the Hyde exceptions differ by state, but many states are like Tennessee, which requires a doctor to certify that “there is credible evidence to believe that the pregnancy is the result of rape” and to attach “documentation from a law enforcement agency indicating the patient has made a credible report as the victim of incest or rape” before Medicaid will consider issuing payment for an abortion procedure. As for the idea that there are all sorts of women filing false reports of rape, rape is consistently the most under-reported of all violent crimes. People aren’t lining up to claim sexual assaults that did happen, much less those that didn’t.

So if this redefinition won’t save our government billions of dollars (and really, that seems to be the only justification Congress can find for anything these days), then what is it all about? Why is Congress needlessly redefining something that most of these old white  guys don’t understand?

And most importantly, what can we do to stop them?

Reading the many intelligent blog posts is a running start to ending this hijack. But we’ve got to do more than move our eyes back and forth across the screen.

So. May I suggest three easy ways to take action:

1. Call your representative. If s/he is supporting the bill, chew their ear out. (Here are some guidelines…)

2. Threaten to write a letter to the editor. Then write a letter to the editor. Do something that will get through to these blind dogs.

3. Spread the word. Tell your grandma, your aunts, your sorority sisters, your best friends, your friend(s) with benefits —  we owe it to the survivors of rape to stop this shitty bill from going any further.

This post is brought to you by Rachel.

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One Response to “Redefining Rape Is Needless (and Shitty)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. UPDATE: Redefining Rape is Shitty (and so is the rest of the bill) « mislabeled - February 4, 2011

    […] many of you know, House Republicans have backed down and taken the redefinition of rape out of H.R. 3 (aka No Taxpayer Funds for Abortions, or for Women, or for anything, […]

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