Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

GOP’s attempt to change rape definition is low, but sadly not surprising

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Update: The term “forcible rape” has been taken out of the House bill. As reprehensible as the bill was, would have been curious to see how far Republican males (and maybe even females) would have gone with this bill.

Rape is a sufficiently horrible occurrence that we should all agree that no one should have to lie about what happened. But once again, a Republican-led movement would force women to lie about what happened to them, all in the name of abortion.

You might think we are talking about the proposed legislation in the House by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). And we are. But this isn’t the first time we have seen the GOP behind such tactics.

I was working as the afternoon news anchor at a radio station in Michigan in the early 1990s when the push came to not allow underage girls to get an abortion without a parent’s permission, unless they were the victim of rape or incest. Other states passed similar laws.

And none of those states considered that they had passed a law that would give incentive for young women to lie about how they got pregnant.

If her boyfriend got her pregnant, she couldn’t get an abortion. But if a stranger (or a family member) got her pregnant, then she could get an abortion. (Obviously, the boyfriend could also rape her, but just follow the example.)

At the time, I thought the law was unfair in part because it forced young women to lie, possibly getting an innocent man in trouble as a result.

Now, the GOP on the national level wants to force adult women (and young girls) to lie in order to get an abortion, this time by politically changing the definition of the word “rape.”

The simple basic definition of rape — a lack of consent — is something even the most sexist pig will admit is true. The GOP wants to change this cases of “forcible” rape.

Those who have watched Law & Order for more than 20 years might not be able to tell the difference. And I certainly can’t either.

So a woman who is raped — raped raped — is led to alter the details of said rape in order to get an abortion. Imagine if you have just been raped, in whatever fashion this happened. There is a lot of your mind, and to add literal insult to literal injury, you have to come up with an alternate excuse for what happened to you so that you can get an abortion if you need one, which is horribly insulting because you are hoping at that moment that you aren’t pregnant.

The other side would scream that this isn’t about rape, it’s about abortion. The other side of the other side would say this is about controlling women’s bodies. And that side has a great point.

While men do get raped, the majority of the victims of rape are women. Again, the most sexist pig knows this. Watching white men (full disclosure: I’m a white male) decide the fate of women in such a personal fashion — while prevalent throughout history — is pretty disturbing.

Then again, you can’t be shocked that the GOP white men have this attitude toward rape. When Sen. Al Franken suggested an amendment that played off the Jamie Leigh Jones/Halliburton case, Republican women in the Senate drew the line and voted for the amendment. The Republican men, by and large, did not. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), he of the prostitutes, did not vote for the amendment.

These aren’t the same white men — the ones in the House that want to pass this bill. But the mentality is the same. The woman who is pregnant or raped or both doesn’t matter.

The moral setup of those who tsk tsk over women who get pregnant (not the men, of course) is bad enough. After all, if you don’t have sex, you can’t get pregnant.

But passing moral judgment on those who get raped, not sure there’s a word for that level of horribleness. Oh sure, there is the standard “what was she wearing” as if that mattered. Or whether the woman was “loose” or “already sexually active” again, as if that mattered.

This bill, if it were to pass, would tell a woman who was clearly raped that you aren’t a rape victim — by some Orwellian definition — because you aren’t politically expedient enough to be a rape victim.

The good news — the only shining light — is that the bill won’t pass the Senate, and certainly won’t be signed by the president. But the fact that the bill is being pushed should at least get some votes on the record.

In politics, you are called upon to exercise judgment and make some risky votes if you think the populace will be helped. The MSM holds the feet to fire on votes on taxes, spending, and taxes.

What if the MSM held the feet of the white men (and possibly men of color) who will vote for this bill? What if the MSM noted the GOP women who would vote for this bill? What if Michele Bachmann voted for this bill?

Most people — who knew about the GOP white men who voted against the Franken amendment — were horrified at the votes. But the MSM gave them a free pass. Would that “olé” move happen again with the Chris Smith bill vote?

Being angry about this proposed bill isn’t enough, if it upsets you. Track the careers of those who vote on the bill; make them sweat in 2012. Ask yourself if people would do this to rape victims — whether they deserve to be called Congressmen.


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