Friday, February 04, 2011

House Republicans Dropped "Forcible" Rape Definition and returned to "Rape" exception

Credit to the Republican Caucus for listening to the critics.
House Republicans have dropped language from an anti-abortion bill that critics said sounded like an attempt to redefine rape.

The offensive phrase, "forcible rape," was used in legislation seeking to permanently ban use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions. It allows exceptions for pregnancies caused by incest or when the life of the pregnant woman is endangered. The original language also permitted an abortion exception for cases of "forcible rape," which angered women's groups who thought the term suggested some rapes were not forced.

The bill was quickly amended to cover all cases of rape, so as not to suggest that some types of sexual assaults -- statutory rape of someone underage, for instance -- were not covered.

A spokesman for chief sponsor Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) told the Washington Post the dropped language had been "misconstrued."

The bill, called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, would simply write the "Hyde Amendment" -- an existing year-to-year ban on use of government money to pay for abortions -- into permanent law. That way, the prohibition would not need repeated reauthorization by Congress.