Remember when Republicans tried to redefine rape in H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," so that only women who had been "forcibly" raped could qualify for government funds for abortion? And remember when, in response to the enormous national WTF? outcry, plus a very persuasive bit on The Daily Show, Republicans dropped that wording?
Well, it's back.
Via Mother Jones:
They're doing it again: After jettisoning controversial legislative language narrowing the definition of rape for the purposes of abortion law, House Republicans are attempting a backdoor maneuver to ensure that solely victims of "forcible rape" are eligible for federal funding if they seek abortions.
That backdoor maneuver they're using?
The backdoor reintroduction of the statutory rape change relies on the use of a committee report, a document that congressional committees produce outlining what they intend a piece of legislation to do. If there's ever a court fight about the interpretation of a law—and when it comes to a subject as contentious as abortion rights, there almost always is—judges will look to the committee report as evidence of congressional intent, and use it to decide what the law actually means.
A committee report is not unlike a presidential signing statement. It's a way of supporting a bill with an asterisk that says, "But what this bill really means..." So while conservatives generally don't like such asterisks—a law means what it says, and there's no room for interpretation—in this case, Republicans think they've found a way to add sneak in a little asterisk to H.R. 3 to segregate victims of "forcible rape" from, you know, women and girls who were kinda-but-not-in-a-bad-way raped.
So why are Republicans so dead-set on creating this absurd distinction? According to Mother Jones, Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, and other anti-choice activists are very concerned about Congress closing the gaping rape loophole. No, really:
Johnson said it was intended to fend off a "brazen effort," by abortion rights groups to exploit the rape exception in Hyde. Abortion rights groups were, in Johnson's words, planning to "federally fund the abortion of tens of thousands of healthy babies of healthy moms, based solely on the age of their mothers." Doerflinger argued in congressional testimony that the language was "an effort on the part of the sponsors to prevent the opening of a very broad loophole for federally funded abortions for any teenager."
See, all those pregnant teens will just brazenly claim they were forced to have sex against their will, when really, they're tramps who love sex and hate babies.
Which is why Congressional Republicans are trying to find a way, any way, to crackdown on this highly exploitable "rape" loophole, saving each and every American taxpayer as much as a fraction of a penny. Because the best way to create a culture of life—and jobs—is to make sure those loose 13-year-old girls can't take American taxpayers for a ride with their brazen claims.