Sunday, January 30, 2011

Redefing Rape: New GOP-sponsored Anti-abortion Bill

We all know that certain groups in this country have a focus on abortion that overrides any other issue. They will go to any lengths to overturn Roe vs Wade -- and the most extreme of them will even call murder justified if it is the murder of a person who is pro-choice or, worse yet, works at a clinic or a Planned Parenthood.

(That these same groups are almost without exception in favor of the death penalty still boggles my mind. Seems to me there should not be a size or age limit on life being "sacred.")

But this blindness to reason or "compromise" has always excluded a few select circumstances. When the life of the mother is in danger, rape and incest. And very few Americans disagree with those exceptions. Or did...

One of the new bills the GOP has hit the ground running with is H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act. On the surface, it is a bit strange...taxpayer funding of abortion in all but the circumstances cited above is already illegal.

H.R. 3 looks to redefine and increase these restrictions. First and foremost, it now forbids using federal funds OR funds that are tax-deductible for an insurance plan that includes coverage of abortion. This would include any funds that are pre-tax out of your paycheck. The language is quite deceptively clear...

‘(1) no credit shall be allowed under the internal revenue laws with respect to amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or with respect to amounts paid or incurred for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion, (from the bill as published at opencongress.org)

This means that any health plan that covers abortion is taxable... not just any portion used for abortion, not any deductibles, not any actual procedure. The language clearly says "includes coverage."

Bad enough. This is nothing less than an attempt to force health insurers not to cover abortion... but this type of legislation has always been subject to the "rule of three." The three exceptions.

Later, those are addressed... but they are addressed in a very specific way. Read for yourself.

‘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..."
(goes on to cover the life of the mother being endangered.)

Now remember, the letter of the law is exactly that... the letter of the law. Not "Rape." "Forcible Rape." So, you were drugged? Not covered. Thirty year old man has consensual sex with a twelve year old? Not covered. No force was used? NOT covered. Threats, remember, are not force. This is why there is a difference between assault and battery. Assault is threats, battery is an unwanted touching or contact.

So, be quiet and do as you are told or I will hurt the kids sleeping in the next room? NOT COVERED. As I hinted at before, the date rape drug dropped in your gin and tonic... NOT COVERED. What's more, some states don't define a difference in rape and it can thus be argued that no rape in those states would be covered since there is no definition for "forcible" in those locations.

Does this sound extreme? Think I am pushing the point too far? I'm not. Once the law is approved, what is written is what is... intention is not a part of it. This is why it is so important for legislation to be well written.

H.R. 3 is dangerous. It isn't only an attack on the issue of choice. It is a precedent setting attack on the definition of rape itself.

Tell your congressional representative to vote no on H.R. 3.

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