First, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a bill to ensure that tax payers would never spend a cent on abortion care. Part of this bill includes cutting Medicaid funding to women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Only women who have been victims of "forcible rape" are deserving of compassion if they cannot bear to continue a pregnancy that resulted from being raped. See, not all rape is forced, and therefore not all women who have been raped should be treated equally.
Jasmine Hollingsworth wrote about this at My Unstill Life:
If you define a qualifying rape as "forcible" that leaves the definition open to interpretation because no one has really clarified what is forcible and what is not, in this instance. That leaves an incalculable number of women who may have been date raped, drugged or who merely didn't fight for fear of their attacker, potentially uncovered by this bill.
...I happen to fall into one of these categories... Rape, whether by obvious force - as classified by the Federal Government - or not, is still rape. Whether I screamed and kicked and bit and risked my life or whether I laid there quietly while I was held down, pleading for my attacker to stop because I thought doing more would endanger me further (and whether or not that fear would qualify as the "threat of force") should not be up for debate. No means no. It's not any less of a crime, either way.
Well, it turns out that a lot of people were morally outraged by this clause, and it was dropped from the bill. However, rest assured that this was not the end of the idea from our GOP friends that rape is not necessarily a crime.
The same day that Smith was forced by evil cabals of feminists to drop his little word game from his bill to punish women, a a good old boy in the Georgia legislature introduced a bill to change state criminal codes to refer to rape victims as "accusers" until there's a conviction. (The New Black Woman goes on to point out that the bill also applies to "victims of family violence and stalking." And Figleaf's Real Adult Sex reminded me that men, of course, can be rape victims, too, so this does not just hurt women.) People who are the targets of "real" crimes still get to be called victims. Of course it would be silly to call a murder victim a "murder accuser" as the dead clearly aren't saying nothing. Right...
Some might posit that electing more female GOP members might stop this onslaught of bills that are punitive to women. Two years ago, Brandi Brown at A Reclamation Feminist wrote about how the town of Wasilla, AK charged women for the rape kits used to collect forensic evidence. They didn't charge robbery accusers or any other crime accusers for any investigative work, only women who reported being raped. Palin may not have instituted the plan to save taxpayers money by refusing to cover this police cost, but she sure did not stand up and say that it was wrong, either.
It's the ethos that matters. Right now, the predominant belief in the Republican party is that crimes against women's bodies are not to be treated like serious matters. I'm sure if I probed a bit, I could find some vile Democrats who said or did equally evil things, but generally this is not supported by the broader party. Until Republicans as a larger group stop signing on to these bills (and worse, inserting punitive provisions into other bills), I'm afraid that the rape laws are just a start.
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