Reps. Bachmann, Kline, Cravaack would redefine rape

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Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger contributed to this report

With millions of Americans out of work, House Republicans — and nine Democrats — are focusing in on real priorities: decimating private abortion coverage and crippling public funding for abortion, as Jessica Arons reports in RH Reality Check.

In AlterNet, Amanda Marcotte notes that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, or H.R. 3, also redefines rape as “forcible rape” in order to determine whether a patient is eligible for a Medicaid-funded abortion. Under the Hyde Amendment, government-funded insurance programs can only cover abortions in cases of rape and incest, or to save the life of the mother. Note that the term “forcible rape” is legally meaningless. Supporters of the bill just want to go on the record as saying that a poor 13-year-old girl pregnant by a 30-year-old should be forced to give birth.

Feminist blogger Sady Doyle has launched a twitter campaign against the bill under the hashtag #dearjohn, a reference to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Tweet to let him know how you feel about a bill that discriminates against 70% of rape victims because their rapes weren’t violent enough for @johnboehner, append the hashtag #dearjohn.

As City Pages reports, Minnesota Representatives Michele Bachmann, John Kline, and Chip Cravaak are among the cadre who want to redefine rape because of abortion funding. So are nine Democrats: Oklahoman Dan Boren, Illinoisans Jerry Costello and Daniel Lipinski, Pennsylvanian Mark Critz, Indianan Joe Donnelly, West Virginian Nick Rahall, Arizonan Mike Ross, North Carolinian Heath Shuler and Minnesotan Collin Peterson. City Pages writes: “Reps. Bachmann, Cravaack, and Kline think making sure rape victims have access to abortions is too generous. Their bill would restrict coverage to women who were forcibly raped. Were you the victim of date rape? Statutory rape? Did your rape not meet some standard of forcibleness? No abortion coverage for you.”

The bill is unlikely to get past the U.S. Senate, but abortion rights activists are still amazed at the language of H.R.3. “Restricting coverage for rape victims is especially cruel and heartless,” said Linnea House, executive director of NARAL MN. Rep. Erik Paulsen is the only Minnesota Republican congressman not to have signed on to the bill.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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