I'm beginning to think that the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives knows and understands that they can't accomplish what the Tea Party
That's what I think on a good day.
On a bad day, like today, I think they've all lost their minds.
It's getting more and more squirrely on Capitol Hill - and I fear it's going to get worse, if it ever gets better.
I thought the reading of the Constitution was pretty silly. I thought the vote to repeal the Health Care Reform Bill, even though they knew it would accomplish nothing, was pathetic.
But, this! Well, this just absolutely blows my mind.
There's nothing to be done but get directly to it: Nick Baumann over at Mother Jones is reporting that the House GOPs are planning to redefine rape.
Yes, you read that right. They are planning to redefine rape.
Rape, they say, is only really rape if it involves 'force'.
But, you see, it's really not about rape. It's about abortion.
Stay with me now. I warned you. It's going to get pretty squirrely.
As Baumann reports,
There used to be a quasi-truce between the pro- and anti-choice forces on the issue of federal funding for abortion. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman.The "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" - a bill with 173 'mostly Republican' co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a 'top priority' in the new Congress - contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to drastically limit the definition of rape and incest in these cases.
But since last year, the anti-abortion side has become far more aggressive in challenging this compromise. They have been pushing to outlaw tax deductions for insurance plans that cover abortion, even if the abortion coverage is never used.
Here's where it gets squirrely.
With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape."
Yes, you heard that right. "Forcible rape".
I'll give you time to scratch your head as you ask, "So, what's 'non-forcible' rape?"
Remember, we're making this up as we go along because the point isn't really about rape - much less, God knows, justice or the law - but abortion.
Turns out, forcible rape has no formal definition under federal law, Baumann notes, but legal experts and abortion advocates told Baumann that, should the bill pass, the new wording would most likely prevent Medicaid from paying for abortions for victims of statutory rapes not involving the use of force.
Okay, let me slow that down and run that by you again.
That was "statutory rapes (generally understood as the rape of a child below the legal age of consent) not involving the use of force".
So, ahem, okay. Let me just ask an obvious question: If an act of rape with a child below the legal age of consent results in pregnancy, how could it not involve 'the use of force'?
Does that mean that if a child below the legal age of consent consents to the sex act, it's not rape because, well, your honor, she obviously wanted it even though she couldn't legally consent to it?
Cue Annie Hall, "I'm too tense. I need a Valium."
Baumann's sources also told him that the revised wording might also disallow funding of abortions in cases where perpetrators used date-rape drugs on their victims, or targeted mentally incapacitated women.
Some states have no definition of forcible rape on the books, calling into question whether any abortions would qualify for federal funding in such jurisdictions.
Incest victims would have to be younger than 18 in order to access Medicaid-funded abortions. The bill also denies tax credits to private insurance plans that pay for abortions.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
Incest is, well INCEST. It's wrong. At any age. And, don't these people know that part of why incest is illegal is that a pregnancy resulting from incest (when there is consanguinity) is always a recipe for serious birth defects?
Sweet mother of Jesus, have these people lost their minds? Or are they just intent on driving us all insane?
So, here's a little primer for The 'boyz and girlz in da House' to help them understand a little more about rape. Let's just call it:
Rape is not a sexual act. It is an act of violence. Sex is the weapon.As we used to say, way back in the 80s: "What part of 'no' don't you understand?
If a woman does not consent to sex, it's rape.
If a man has to drug a woman in order to have 'non forcible' sex with her, it's rape.
If a man has sex with a post-pubescent child under the legal age of consent, it is rape (and reprehensible).
If a man has sex with a pre-pubescent child who is obviously under the legal age of consent, it is child molestation and rape (and heinous).
If a man has sex with a person who is mentally incapacitated, it's rape (and evil).
If a woman is out on a date with a man and doesn't want to have sex but he does and threatens her in any way and she capitulates because she's afraid of him, it's still rape, even though she knows him or may have even known him for a number of years.
If a husband forces himself on his wife, it's still rape, even though they are married.
If a woman is dressed in what is considered "seductive attire" and declines to have sex, it's still rape and it's not her fault. She wasn't "asking for it."
Isn't that ironic!?!?
"The Party of No" doesn't understand "No."
Abortion? Well, that's a different subject all together. But, I promise - with my hand on a stack of bibles - that if you work to change the reasons women feel compelled to have an abortion - like poverty, lack of access to quality health care, education, reproductive rights - you will reduce the number of abortions. That includes the number of abortions paid for by the federal government.
I know. That's a lot more difficult than changing the definition of rape.
I'm not a lawyer (and I don't play one on TV), but it seems to me that diminishing the legal rights of all women which are designed to protect them against rape, in order to protect the rights of those who are not yet legally 'persons' is, well. . . it's not only bad law, it's an injustice.
Besides, if it was your daughter, Congressman/woman, who had been raped, I'm thinking you're not going to sit in the waiting room of the local hospital Emergency Room trying to discern whether or not it was 'forcible' or 'non forcible' rape.
I don't know about you, but I am sick unto death of "Coach Boehner" telling his "team" to try some fake passes, end runs and trying to "sack the quarterback" (the POTUS). It's a desperate, pathetic, dangerous game they're playing.
Even though House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has called the bill a "high priority", it seems unlikely that the Democratic-controlled Senate would approve the law.
President Obama would also undoubtedly veto the legislation if. . . and I think that's a Very Big "if". . . it made it to his desk.
What happened to employment - finding jobs for people - being "high priority"?
What happened to the economy being a "high priority"?
What happened to the "high priority" of reducing the deficit?
And what the heck ever happened to the Republican "high priority" of staying the heck out of people's private lives?
One of my friends suggested that this bill is just a little something bright and shiny to distract the Tea Party folks and make them think the Republicans are really doing what they wanted them to do.
Even so, it might be time to pick up your telephone and call the office of your local Representative(s) to Congress and let him/her know what you think about this absurd piece of proposed legislation.
Here's your opening line: "Aw, nuts!"