I haven’t written about this yet because I am just so f*cking angry that I see red every time I try to even think, let alone write or speak, about the GOP’s attempt to redefine rape.
I am speaking of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. A bill that, “seeks to revamp the current allowances for victims of rape or incest to use government funds to pay for abortions. Instead, the bill aims to limit the rape exemption to cases of “forcible rape.” Also, the bill would make it so that federal funds would only cover abortions in cases of incest if the woman is younger than 18-years-old.”
This act is terrifying because it leaves out women who are coerced into drinking too much and losing control, or blackmailed into having sex, or tricked, or are just too paralyzed by fear to even speak let alone put up a fight… but it is also terrifying because many times even rape achieved through plain old brute force does not qualify as forcible rape in our legal system. Sometimes, even if a woman says no and the rapist acknowledges on the stand that he heard her say no… well, that’s still not rape because she didn’t fight back hard enough (maybe because she was afraid of being beaten on top of being raped, or because she is paralyzed by fear? Just sayin.) The Republican party would have us believe that this woman hadn’t been raped, even though she was forced to have sex that she didn’t want to have and had to go through the same emotional responses and struggle that any other rape survivor has to deal with… how is this okay? Its not. It wasn’t when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court levied this decision in 1994, and its no more okay today in 2011.
There’s only one thing to say: we can’t let them do this.
When I think about this bill I don’t think about it in the abstract. When I think about this bill I think about the multitudes of wonderful, strong women who I have connected with through the Rape Crisis Center, both on the phone and in person. Women who have been violated by people with no respect for them, their independence, or their autonomy. When I think about this bill I see a reflection of that same disrespect that rapists have for their targets, because it is a bill that seeks to take bodily autonomy away from the women who need it the most.
When I speak to someone who has been sexually assaulted in any way my main goal is simply facilitating them in taking back control over their lives. Part of that control for a rape survivor could very easily mean aborting a fetus that was produced as a result of their assault. To pass legislation that would make it even harder for a rape victim to regain that control, when she is already struggling with so much uncertainty and pain inside of herself, is absolutely reprehensible.
Please, please join me in writing and calling your representative to beg them not to do this. Say what’s in your heart but please, do what you can to make it personal because if we can just get them to understand that these are lives that they are dealing with, lives of people who deserve a break not to be broken down even further… if they realize these are lives that they are playing with, there is no way this bill can pass.
Some information to help us all fight back…
Democratic Representatives Who Support the Bill:
Dan Boren [D-OK2]
Jerry Costello [D-IL12]
Mark Critz [D-PA12]
Joe Donnelly [D-IN2]
Daniel Lipinski [D-IL3]
Collin Peterson [D-MN7]
Nick Rahall [D-WV3]
Mike Ross [D-AR4]
Heath Shuler [D-NC11]
A sample letter written by a blogger, use it to help you write one of your own! If you live in a district represented by one of the Senators listed above, or if you are represented by a Republican (who is most likely supporting this bill out of party loyalty, if not personal investment) then please, please take the time to call or e-mail them to share your story and let them know that your support for them is riding on them voting against this terrible bill.
Join in the #DearJohn twitter campaign directed at Speaker Bahner.
Make your voice heard however you can because we cannot let injustice like this pass.