Disingenuous Democrats

So I see this headline at Memeorandum and follow the link to Mother Jones:

The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape

Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old’s parents wouldn’t be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

There used to be a quasi-truce between the pro- and anti-choice forces on the issue of federal funding for abortion. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. But since last year, the anti-abortion side has become far more aggressive in challenging this compromise. They have been pushing to outlaw tax deductions for insurance plans that cover abortion, even if the abortion coverage is never used. The Smith bill represents a frontal attack on these long-standing exceptions.

My first thought was “Holy shit, the Republicans really are insane!

Then I looked a little closer. This is the section of the bill at issue:


‘The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion–

‘(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest; or

‘(2) in the case where the pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the pregnant female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

That is only one section of a longer bill. What Mother Jones calls “redefining rape” consists of someone adding the word “forcible” in front of “rape.” It also adds “if a minor” in front of “incest.”

Was this an intentional plot by all the Republicans in Congress? I doubt it. It’s kinda buried in the MoJo article but there are some Democrats supporting the bill too. Did they all read it carefully and consider the implications? The bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) but did he write it? Is he a lawyer?

Here’s the relevant text of the executive order signed less than a year ago by Barack Obama:

Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.

Let me be clear – I’m not defending the proposed bill. In fact, I think it stinks. But it’s not that different from existing law and as of yet it hasn’t even been debated. It would have to clear the House, then the Senate and be signed into law by Obama before it became law. Hopefully when the dust clears abortion rights won’t be restricted more than they already are.

But this fauxrage reminds me of the whole “rape kit” lie used against Sarah Palin. Getting the facts right is less important that gaining an advantage.

BTW – I wonder how many of the fauxragers think Julian Assange is innocent of rape because he didn’t use force?

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46 Responses to Disingenuous Democrats

  1. WMCB says:

    It’s the same old twisting of words to get a screaming headline to make something sound awful that is really sort of “meh”.

    I went round and round today with someone over Michelle Bachmann and her supposedly saying that John Quincy Adams eradicated slavery. No, she didn’t. She said that he “wouldn’t rest until slavery was eradicated”. The fact that he didn’t live to see it doesn’t make that statement a stupid stupid balloon-head fantasy. Poorly phrased, perhaps, but her point was obvious.

    The truth is that the man fought against slavery, was opposed to slavery, tried to keep it from spreading to any new territories, brought repeated anti-slavery petitions before Congress as a representative, including some from slaves themselves.

    Not to mention, who the FUCK do people think argued the Amistad case before the Supreme Court?? John Quincy Adams.

    I know, I know – why defend the R’s against lies from the left? What am I, a ratfucker?

    Nope. It’s just that my (nominal) side of the aisle is fast losing credibility in this country by pulling crap like this. And that alarms me. Maybe, just maybe, I am concerned that “my” side of politics needs to hold onto what FUCKING CREDIBILITY they have left, and I’m angry that they keep pissing it away for no reason other than to merely get their hate-fest jollies on.

    And I’m not willing to see every liberal ideal I hold dear dismissed out-of-hand by a skeptical public, all because rabidly partisan morons couldn’t restrain themselves from hyperventilating every time a republican fails to dot an i, cross a t, or leaves a preposition dangling. Or inserts a vague adjective into a bill that has NOTHING to do with “re-defining rape”. It might be a sucky bill, but that’s not what it’s about.


    • myiq2xu says:

      Remember when lefies took pride in calling themselves “the reality-based community?”

      You can’t have reality without truth and honesty.

    • WMCB says:

      And BTW, if I was really a Republican ratfucker, I’d be on every liberal blog cheering the left on to even greater heights of idiocy.

      Yeah! Palin is a stupid c*nt! And they are all racists!! Let’s burn some flags and rag on the stupid ignorant rednecks some more!

      If I really wanted the left to go down in glorious and futile flames, that’s exactly what I’d be doing.

    • yttik says:

      I’m angry at the left for selling out it’s integrity too. I don’t really want to defend Republicans either, but I can’t support hysteria, hyperbole, and lies.

      I’m also sick and tired of issues like sexual assault and abortion being used as political footballs. Nobody gives a crap about these issues. Blaming Palin for rape kits was false, but what always pissed me off the most is that not one of those people accusing her ever spent one moment fighting to make sure victims were not billed. They didn’t care about the issue at all, they just wanted to attack a Republican. Here we are with this bill, well how many of those people have fought to make sure minors, victims of incest, had access to abortion?? Have any of them ever bothered to ask who pays for it now?

    • Right. When Kipling titled a story “the man who would be king” he didn’t mean the man did become king; iirc he died trying.

      Blake is dead but we haven’t yet built Jerusalem
      In England’s green and pleasant land, either.

      I will not cease from mental fight,
      Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
      Till we have built Jerusalem
      In England’s green and pleasant land.

    • ralphb says:

      They almost don’t have enough credibility left to piss away. Most of it is gone already. Soon they will be running a large credibility deficit and will have to make cuts in their post budgets. 😉

    • JeanLouise says:

      vague adjective
      I do think this is a significant change in the law.

      • WMCB says:

        It may be. I was typing in a hurry, and briefly searched for a better adjective, myself, but then just moved on. So perhaps vague was the wrong word. It may or may not end up being a big deal. Or it may have some deleterious effect on abortion coverage.

        What it does NOT do is in any way re-define rape, or change the rape laws of a single state. To imply that it does is hysterical fear-mongering, which is what that headline does.

        • JeanLouise says:

          I agree that it does not change the rape laws but I do think it will have an effect on how abortions resulting from rape are paid for if the law is passed.

          I’ve said for years that the GOP has decided to fight abortion an inch at a time since it’s unlikely that they will actually be able to overturn Roe v. Wade.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I guess you missed the part about “this would be a bad law.”

          Nobody here is saying this would be a good law or even inconsequential.

          But this law WOULD NOT “redefine rape.”

        • okasha skatsi says:

          A quick scan of definitions of “rape” turns up consistent use of the words “force,” “by force” or “forcible.” Many statutes make this clear by labeling the crime itself “forcible rape.” So no, this makes no immediate change. The key is “immediate.”

          Modern lexicography defines words according to how they are used. It’s “descriptive, not prescriptive” What the insertion of the word “forcible” or “forced” into this proposed law does is suggest that some rapes are not “forcible” and begins to divide the idea of rape from the use of force. This is the first step on the road back to the bad old days of “it wasn’t rape because she didn’t fight him (enough).” Or “why didn’t she scream?” It ignores the use of threats or coercion other than physical force.

          Republicans and the religious right, who are pretty much identical now, are nothing if not patient. They have spent literal decades chipping away at women’s right to reproductive medical care as established in Roe. THis is more of the same.

  2. Three Wickets says:

    My initial (non lawyerly) impression was that the “forcible” definition could exclude instances of statutory, date or drugged rape. MJ’s editor Clara Jeffery is always very strong on rape issues, though she’s not the writer here. She’s definitely been one not giving Assange a pass on the rape allegations…as have most of the post wavers iirc. Naomi Wolf has been the contrarian.

    • WMCB says:

      I agree that it’s a bad bill. And that the intent may have been to further limit abortion in the case of statutory rape or whatever.

      But it is not a wholesale re-definition of rape, which is what the headlines are saying. The bill has zero effect on the actual rape laws, or the definition of rape.

    • jjmtacoma says:

      I don’t think this would stand up consistently in court, unless there is a legal definition of “forcible”.

      It seems like this change to the language is designed to generate appeals and end up in the Supreme Court because the decisions in the lower courts will end up being conflicting. Assuming, of course, that the legal definition of “forcible” would have different applications.

      I am NOT a lawyer by any stretch, so I could be way off base – but as myiq has said, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

      • myiq2xu says:

        Rape isn’t a federal crime and there are 50 different definitions in state law.

        • jjmtacoma says:

          Oh wait, this has to do with the insurance exchange language… so this bill has limited impact to include only women who are covered by insurance that is purchased from the insurance exchange or on medicaid?

          so it wouldn’t be a legal decision, it would be a “claims” decision?

          Where did they get the bit about not being able to use tax-free savings accounts to pay for abortions?

          Maybe I’m getting confused by the faux-rage…

  3. My thoughts exactly when I read the article in question. I especially wondered where Nick Baumann, the author, stood on the Assange rape allegations. Because you can’t cry “it’s not rape without force” on that and then turn around and say it’s different when it comes to abortion.

    This is basically the MO of Democrats and the larger left when it comes to women, which they are losing in spades, ftr. Women are used for sex, organizing, and lady-on-the-tracks propaganda, in that order. This story is an example of the latter.

    • Imo ‘lady on the tracks’ describes the Assange case also. The women didn’t even intend to file a charge; the Swedish authorities blew the thing up for political reasons (whether US pressure or their personal ambition).

      • That may very well be the case, and reasonable people can discuss the possibility of a honeypot scandal without questioning the characters of the women who are making rape allegations. Support for what Wikileaks does does not have to equate to a de facto support of Assange, regardless of his behavior. The left seriously confuses the two at their own peril.

        I’m not sure where you’re getting your information on whether or not these women intended to file charges, but it’s not accurate. The charges were filed because these women came forward.

        • One more thing, even if these women did not intend to file charges, once they were reported by those women to the prosecutor, he or she is duty bound to proceed with the case if they think they can win it.

          Think about it. You’re suggesting (and I don’t think it’s intentional, ftr) that charges should only be filed in rape cases if the victim wants it. Does that also apply to attempted murder charges, for example? No, crime is prosecuted no matter the willingness of victims, who may be subject to fear and intimidation. And that’s as it should be.

        • JeanLouise says:

          You’re suggesting (and I don’t think it’s intentional, ftr) that charges should only be filed in rape cases if the victim wants it.
          Lola, in the jurisdiction that I live in, rapes are not prosecuted unless the victim is a cooperating witness.

          • myiq2xu says:

            Lola, in the jurisdiction that I live in, rapes are not prosecuted unless the victim is a cooperating witness.

            Prosecution of ANY crime is problematic if the victim refuses to cooperate.

        • How about stepping outside to pursue that subject?

          I posted a lot about that case back in early December at http://bemused-leftist.livejournal.com/

      • Pips says:

        “[T]he Swedish authorities blew the thing up for political reasons (whether US pressure or their personal ambition).”

        US pressure?! Personal ambition?! The Swedish Prosecution Authorities suspected Julian Assange of “unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape” and called for his arrest. That’s their job. In accordance with Swedish law.

        And I’m pretty sure it was the media, that “blew the thing up” … and let me add out of proportion. For whatever reason.

        • Imo it was blown out of proportion by the news media, after the women’s stories were blown out of proportion by the Swedish police and Swedish politicians.

          I don’t want to get into a brawl here, but there’s more info at my LJ.

  4. angienc says:

    ALL rape are forcible. You don’t have to be beaten to half to death to have a guy’s dick shoved in you against your will.
    “forcible rape” seems pretty fucking redundant to me.

  5. myiq2xu says:

    Who said it?

    I was going to write an essay about the Muslim inventors showcase 1001 Inventions–the big, splashy exhibit at the New York Hall of Science till April–but then there was a massacre in Tucson. Since the attempt on Congresswoman Giffords’ life called to mind the ghastly and vicious intolerance that has come to describe American political discourse (no, I’m not blaming Caribou Barbie’s insane target map, though there’s a reason why she popped into everyone’s head when the catastrophe happened), I thought I might use the public’s positive reaction to 1001 Inventions as an example of tolerance. How long that tolerance is going to last I don’t know.

    Answer here

    (h/t Violet)

    • WMCB says:

      Sweet Baby Jesus. That’s just sad.

      Talk about no credibility left. Simpering Handmaidens of the Democratic Party.

      • ralphb says:

        Lately, I’ve been trying to think of any of the liberal groups which I used to admire that is still worth a damn. It seems they are all front groups for the Dem party and that’s all that matters. I assume they were always that way and I didn’t see through the smoke.

      • gumsnapper says:

        Ms. Mag lost all credibility with that infamous Superman Obama cover. They are, indeed, just a wing of the Dem party.

    • ralphb says:

      Jeez, they are a parody of themselves.

    • Valhalla says:

      Well, I left a comment but will be surprised if it doesn’t get “moderate.”

    • Three Wickets says:

      The progressives are so lost these days. Except for bashing tea party women, they have no idea what to focus their energies on. They are all over the place. They should be focusing on standing up for the have-nots against the haves in society. That’s what being a progressive used to mean. But their Obama koolaid stupor won’t let them see that. Almost resembles Stockholm Syndrome…they’ve been taken hostage, but they don’t mind because Obama is the Word…and they are scared witless about the possibility they would somehow be branded racist by the Obot enforcers. Lot of young kids giving up their right or ability to think independently. Sad sight and a waste.

      • LJSNAustin says:

        …and not just “young kids” either, ThreeWickets. Folks my age (50) and older have lost their ability to think as well.

  6. imustprotest says:

    Maybe this bill was trying to make sense out of Woopie Goldberg’s “it’s not rape-rape” comment??

    • yttik says:

      The term “forcible rape” is used by the FBI when they gather crime statistics. It’s used in police reports and newspapers and legislation.It’s not a new term. It is annoying and redundant because all rape is forcible, that’s the whole point. “Forcible” doesn’t mean violent, it can mean intimidation, threats, coercion, and statutory rape. Minors cannot give legal consent, so any acts against them are forcible. Children lack the power to defend themselves intellectually, physically, so exploiting a kid is a forcible act, whether violence is used or not.

      What bothers me more than this piece of crappy legislation they want to pass, is the response from faux-gressives, that seems to imply they believe in Whoopi’s definitions of something not really being “rape-rape.” It’s not Republicans claiming that some rape isn’t forcible, it’s these bloggers who are inventing all these scenarios where they claim some rapes are not forcible. The use of drugs, incest, intimidation, they seem to be implying that there are all these scenarios where it isn’t really “rape-rape.”

    • Three Wickets says:

      But Whoopi implied if it’s not rape-rape, don’t worry about it too much. MJ is saying worry about it, even in the case of a smaller rule distinction relating to fed funding for abortions in the semi-private health insurance exchanges. Yes it is part party political jousting, but MJ and Clara Jeffery in particular are also strong defenders of repro rights and fighters on rape issues. And good for them, because lately there have been ever fewer women in the left media fighting for women’s issues. That said, Clara does have a strong case of PDS. Believe it’s physically impossible to live in SF or Berkeley and not have PDS. 🙂

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