Tag Archives: #congress

Anti-abortion bill is constitutional because a bishop says so

10 Feb

On Tuesday, a Congressional hearing was held on the constitutionality of the highly controversial H.R. 3 bill, aka The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortions Act. This being a hearing on the constitutionality of the bill (which is also somewhat suspect), House Republicans decided to support the bill on moral grounds. Confusing, no?

Sadly, the Republicans apparently didn’t get the whole constitution message, because each decided to talk about how much of an abomination abortion is and forget about that silly document they claim to uphold. You know, the one about individual liberties and freedoms?

Thankfully the extremely pro-life Republican panel had some shrewd “insight” into the constit- uhh moral problems with our current NON-TAXPAYER FUNDING (see Hyde Amendment) of abortions. After the obligatory Planned Parenthood bashing by Rep. Mike Pence, fellow Republican Rep. Steve King  brought out a chart showing how a partial birth abortion is performed, asking if the panelists would be morally opposed to watching the procedure themselves.

The constitutional debate didn’t stop there. Witness Richard Doerflinger of the pro-life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops decided he was going espouse his philosophy on why rape-based provisions in abortion legislation shouldn’t be there.  He stated:

I’ve met some kids who were conceived in rape, they and their mothers are great people and they are glad it was not an abortion. The objection [to the word forcible] … was people saying it doesn’t mean that rape already means forcible so if you say forcible rape that’s redundant.

Uhh, what?

I would not know what it is like to have a pregnancy resulting from rape. And these women who decided to have their children despite the horrific process are no doubt courageous.

But at the end of the day it was their choice to have that child. Just because Mr. Doerflinger believes something and he has found others who agree, do0esn’t make it the law of the land.  If that’s the way America worked, then we would not have a democracy based upon rights, but an authoritarian government based on the whims of those in power. (Goodbye, Constitution.)

Lastly, “forcible rape” is not redundant. Last time I checked, this addition is a big deal, as it allows for a reinterpretation of our own rape statutes. That means potentially the bill would lead a judge to say that a drug or alcohol-induced rape is not rape anymore.

Mr. Doerflinger proves there are  people in this country who would not mind restricting the rights granted to us in the Constitution (you know, that document the hearing was on) on the basis of their moral agenda.  I believe Ms. Rosenbaum said it best: “I prefer actually to keep my moral positions out of this hearing; I have very strongly held religious and moral views on many things.”

This post is brought to you by Salvatore.

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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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