Thursday, February 3, 2011

Republicans Seek To Redefine Rape

Stand up and oppose the dangerous GOP legislation to redefine rape

Broadcast Union News: It never ceases to amaze me that in the 21st Century, men still try to treat women like chattel and continue to legislate inequality on every level for half the population based on their gender.

The Republican initiative to redefine the definition of rape from "sex without one's consent" to "cases of 'forcible' rape but not statutory or coerced rape" for the purposes of access to abortions is the GOP's latest assault on women's rights.

Introduced by Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, the bill is sponsored by Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack and John Kline, as well as DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, and supported by 173 members of the House, and includes the provision that would redefine rape in the realm of federal funding for reproductive health care.

Congresswoman Bachmann has been particularly vocal in support of the bill. “Not only would defunding Planned Parenthood and affiliated federal grants to abortion facilities at the federal, state and local levels save us $630 million in taxpayer dollars, but its [sic] simply the moral thing to do,” she said early last week, citing efforts by the GOP to pass abortion restrictions.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, criticized the bill last week.
“Heartlessly, the Smith bill would even prevent many rape survivors from getting the care they need,” she said in a statement. “If this bill passes, only rape survivors who become pregnant through ‘forcible rape’ will be allowed federal financing of abortion. This means women who are drugged, unconscious, coerced — or whatever else state lawmakers decide does not constitute ‘forcible rape’ — could be excluded from the abortion coverage they need.”

What really confuses me is how female legislators can vote in favor of such nonsense as the Smith Bill, many of the 173 members of congress supporting this attack on women's rights are female. Just as when all the female Republican members of both the House and Senate voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have addressed inequality in pay for women doing the identical work as men, earning barely three-quarters of what their male counterparts make for the same work.

I wonder how female Republican Senators like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) can look at themselves in a mirror without wincing. What could they possibly tell their daughters, sisters, mothers, and female constituents to justify this behavior. Perhaps female Senators should take a 25% pay cut in solidarity with the Republican position, this would also reduce government spending, consistent with another policy close to the hearts of the GOP.

Where is the outrage?
Now the same folks that don't think women are worth as much as men in the workplace are setting equal rights for women back even further by suggesting that they need to prove they fought back hard enough against their attacker to be able to avail themselves of government funded medical care after being raped.

Consent, or rather the lack of consent, should be the primary issue in rape cases. To change the standard of proof based on the level of resistance a woman puts up against her attacker is obscene.

Right now, federal dollars can't be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger. But the Smith bill would narrow that use to "cases of 'forcible' rape but not statutory or coerced rape."

As far too many women know, bruises and broken bones do not define rape - a lack of consent does. Please sign the petition today.

A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to your Senators and Representative.

Eveyone should sign the petition at:

"Bruises and broken bones do not define rape—a lack of consent does. Stand up and oppose the dangerous GOP legislation to redefine rape."

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