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THE BENEFITS OF ACTIVISM: Slightly More Covert Rape Redefinition, Woo-Hoo

Oh, hey, everybody! Remember how we were all upset about that “you only get an abortion if we decide you were really raped” language in H.R.3? And then we were all, “no, stop that, lawmakers, take that clause out right now,” and lawmakers were all, “okay, we will, stop yelling at us, GAH.” Remember that? Well, good news:

(A) They are voting on that bill really, really soon, and It just passed the House, and

(B) They didn’t actually take all of that stuff out.

Indeed! As per this article on the Mother Jones,

The committee report for H.R. 3 says that the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape.” The bill itself doesn’t say anything like that, but if a court decides that legislators intended to exclude statutory rape-related abortions from eligibility for Medicaid funding, then that will be the effect.

(Also, please excuse Mother-Jonesy language about “House Republicans.” Because, yes! Republicans are very ideologically misguided! I believe you wholeheartedly! But also, factually, WE KNOW THERE ARE DEMOCRATS WHO SUPPORT THIS BILL AS WELL? I get the need for concise language. But also, we run the risk of just partisan stirrin’-up-the-masses stuff when we say “House Republicans” when what we mean is, “House Republicans, who are mostly dudes, and also one or two super-extreme Republican ladies, but also Democrats who are dudes as well, so basically: House Dudes.”)

(Also, yes, I KNOW, it is not only ladies who need to get abortions. This is another area of linguistic imprecision and smoothing out the facts on the ground in order to COMMUNICATE A MESSAGE, which actually under-serves the actual message. And another instance in which the truth is, “probably in the minds of most of these anti-choice people, only women will be affected by this, because they seem not so well-educated on the complexities of gender, so the effect is to oppress all women — at least on the level of symbol and ideology, which is a damn important level — by legally defining women as second-class citizens unworthy of medical care or bodily autonomy. But also, in practice, it results in both symbolic AND practical, potentially lethal oppression for anyone with the anatomy we culturally have designated ‘female,’ so, like, many trans men, non-binary people, and so on, and so forth, basically if you are not a rich cis guy, you are in trouble right now, for real.”)

But, to re-iterate! Basically, here is my understanding of how this works: They take objectionable language that presumes to define “real” versus “unreal” rapes, and they remove it from the bill. They wait until someone has to have a court fight over how the bill applies to their needed abortion. At that point, we look at the committee reports. We read that sentence. And if you were molested, whoops! No abortion for YOU, molested person! We have looked that all the rapes that are possible to be raped, and we have decided that being SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AND IMPREGNATED BY AN ADULT PERSON, AS A CHILD is very definitely not a rape that counts!

Because, you know, the children. This is why we pass anti-abortion bills. Because we care about the children. Clearly.

And now, a depressing video.

They’re Coming for Roe from Center for Reproductive Rights on Vimeo.





On the chopping block in Congress:
-Insurance coverage for abortions
-Life-saving care for women in all hospitals
-Abortion coverage for rape victims

Think that’s as far as anti-choice lawmakers will go?
Can go?

Think again.

[TV turns on]

Rep. Steve King (R-IA): We will see the end of Roe v Wade in our time!
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): Sadly, abortion on demand is legal in America.
Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA): Abortion is not health care.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN): Future generations will place Roe vs Wade alongside the terrible Dred Scott decision.
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA): I’ve seen people get more upset about a dying pet than they have in giving up their pregnancy.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ): New evidence has uncovered a clear link between abortion and mental illness in women.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): I long for the day that Roe vs Wade is sent to the scrapheap of history.
Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN): And demagoguing language about some kind of war on women is nothing but laughable.


Anti-choice lawmakers are on the warpath. And they’re coming for you.

Legislation is being introduced right now that is: anti-woman, anti-child, anti-health.

Stop these bills from setting women’s rights back a lifetime.

Take action today at


  1. Chai Latte wrote:

    Right! The children!

    So, that’s why the House Dudes are totes funneling all this money and whatnot into funding for low-income families and WIC and….oh, wait…


    Seriously. These people make me sick–especially the Dems who vote in favor of this bullshit.

    Most rapes are NOT ‘forcible’, by which I mean, they are not necessarily physically violent (I get the feeling that’s what they’re angling at). Some rapists are VERY good at using just enough strength to subdue, but not enough to cause injury. Good to know that the conservatives have their backs.. =P

    And let’s not leave out the emotional manipulators, the intimidators, etc…..if ‘forcible’ means ‘violent’, it also must include ‘coercion’.

    Ugh, I think I’m gonna be sick…

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  2. Ennu wrote:

    UGH. It’s always infuriating when republicans try and push this sexist crap through, but seeing democrats who wholeheartedly support it and knowing that the democratic party will never stand up to them or address this problem? That is a special kind of burn.

    Also, good point on the fake “it’s about the children” bull. There is always a lot of hypocrisy within the anti-choice movement, though this one is really blatant even for them.

    Not even surprised this thing passed. Just depressed. THANKS FOR NOTHING, 16 ASSHOLE DEMS!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
  3. Siobhan wrote:

    “basically if you are not a rich cis guy, you are in trouble right now, for real”

    Now = Since January. Yup.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink
  4. Agnes wrote:

    Sady, because I don’t want to apply public pressure if this isn’t an idea you feel you can do, so I wanted to email you or leave an ask on your tumblr, but it looks like you don’t have that option open anymore. Feel free not to put this comment through moderation.

    I’m sure you heard about the cheerleader two years ago who was punished by her high school for not cheering for the basketball player who had sexually assaulted her. Her lawsuit has made it through the system by now and been rejected, and so she’s supposed to pay the school district $45,000 to compensate them for the “frivolous” lawsuit.

    I think that’s ridiculous, and would like to donate money toward those costs, so they don’t have to be born by the family. I don’t know if there’s any movement set up for that, but I thought if there was, you’d be a good person to publicize it, and if there wasn’t, you’d be in a good position to start one if that’s something you feel like you have the energy for.

    I’m angry about a lot of things having to do with rape culture, but unlike with congressional events such as in this post, I feel like this is something small and concrete enough for me to feel like I can do something to help with it.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  5. Hayley B wrote:

    I know everyone feels this too, but I just have to express that this makes me

    I feel absolutely filled with rage and despair and I think I’m going to eat some candy about it because I have few coping tactics for these emotions.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
  6. Valeria wrote:

    This was novel. I wish I could read every post, but i have to go back to work now… But I’ll return.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink