Thursday, February 3, 2011

Does H.R. 3 Redefine Rape?

There's a lot of noise going around about how H.R. 3 "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," sponsored by House Reps. Christopher H. Smith (R) of New Jersey and Daniel Lipinski (D) of Illinois and 175 mostly Republican cosponsors, redefines rape.

The noise-makers are trying to rouse opposition to the bill by saying things like federally-funded abortions will no longer be available to rape victims unless the victim is battered and suffers broken bones. They say rapes occurring to women who are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs will no longer be considered rape if the bill becomes law because force will no longer be a factor. They say statutory rape will no longer be rape, either. They say a lot of things.

The actual text at the heart of the controversy is:


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."

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook (2004), which is used by local, state, colleges for crimes on campus, and other federal agencies when submitting data to the National Incident Based Reporting System states:

"Forcible Rape-Rape by Force

Definition: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

'Against her will' includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of her youth)."

In United States v. Bright, the decision includes that "the force involved in penetration will suffice." United States v. Torres and United States v. Sargent say that force can be subtle and psychological, and need not be overt or physically brutal.

Therefore, H.R. 3 is merely closing loopholes left open by other federal rules, many temporary, prohibiting our tax dollars from being used for the abortions chosen by women wanting to limit the size of their families who eschew the options of contraceptives, abstinence, or adoption.

Please encourage your Members of Congress to support this bill and encourage your Representative to cosponsor it if s/he hasn't already.

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