[Trigger warning for non-graphic description of rape and sarcastic rape apologism]
There’s a bill in the (now Republican majority) U. S. House of Representatives that would restrict even more stringently the already insufficient exemptions from the ban on federal funding for abortions. Currently, at least on paper, federal money can pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, and potential harm to the woman in question. The proposed bill would restrict the rape provision to cases of “forcible rape” and limit incest cases to those in which the woman is a minor.
There are so many things wrong with this, from so many standpoints—the restriction of the meaning of rape; the fact that “forcible rape” is not defined anywhere; the inherent classism of the federal prohibition on abortion funding—and others have pointed out and critiqued these things. I want to focus on how this bill reveals what the pro-life politicians supporting it actually think about women.
This bill pretty unambiguously says women deserve to be punished if they’re drugged, raped, and impregnated. If they’re at a party where, oh heavens, they might be drinking and wearing scandalous clothing, and someone rapes them when they’re drunk, well, they deserve to be punished by having to carry a baby to term. Shouldn’t have been partying in the first place. (They’re almost as bad as those women who have consensual sex outside of marriage and then want abortions when they get pregnant, who are already barred from having Medicaid pay for their abortions.) Maybe having a baby will make those hussies more responsible.
You know when else this bill would prevent the government from paying for an abortion? Statutory rape. As in, when a girl who’s below the age of consent has sex with someone much older than her. Because, you know, that girl must be a slutty little Lolita and carrying a baby might just make her grow up a little. Same goes for the woman who’s over 18 and a victim of incest.
So what does this bill tell us? That some women are sluts, and whatever happened to them, they had it coming, for one. That pregnancy might redeem them, for another. But mostly, that the GOP is rife with misogyny. After all, a man in the same scenario as the above examples wouldn’t be able to get pregnant—so nothing to worrry about. Oh, and if the women who wants the abortion is rich enough to pay for it out of pocket? Well that’s fine.
Part of me—the wildly optimistic part—suspects that the House Republicans know their bill won’t make it through the Senate even if the House passes it, and thus are pushing it only to make a point—to be able to tell their voters that they fought for protection for unborn babies. But I don’t know if I should make this assumption. The fact that they even thought of writing this bill makes me worry that they really do hate women, and female sexuality, that much. Being non-American and unable to do anything about this piece of legislation makes me extremely frustrated, too. I hope all Americans will make their voices heard on this one. Because it’s not even about pro-choice/pro-life any more. Most pro-lifers I know would see these changes as odious. So if there’s ever a time for bipartisanship on the abortion issue it should be now.