Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MoveOn.org, a PSA on Behalf of Opposition to Republicans Redefining Rape in Congress

Republicans are attempting to restrict rape for abortions to forcible rape ONLY.  That would eliminate date rape, rape where the victim is drugged or otherwise unconscious, statutory rape of minors, or any rape where a woman was coerced by fear and chose not to be injured or killed but still did not consent.  It would mean that if someone raped a woman at knife-point or gun-point but didn't stab or shoot the victim ---- it wasn't really rape, according to Republicans.  It wasn't rape - according to Republicans AND Tea Partiers - because if a woman isn't injured in resisting a rape, she doesn't object ENOUGH. Not ENOUGH to deserve the option of an abortion.  This is consistent with the spectrum that views a woman having to endure an unwanted pregnancy as a mere 'inconvenience', that believes women don't really mind rape that much, and might secretly enjoy it, at least a little.  Because it is 'just' sex.  This is the same kind of thinking that believes that a married woman can't refuse marital sex, that she has given life-time consent, and that marital rape cannot by definition, occur either.

There are fundamental issues with the attitudes on the right towards women, their rights, and their bodies.

They are also, in the same bill, for purposes of abortion, redefining incest to apply only to women under 18.  This is obscene, it is misogynistic, it offends basic decency.  But of course those same Republicans will present themselves to their anti-abortion base as theocratic patriots, who support innocent life.

What they won't admit is that they do not give a damn about women's lives. What they will be denying or ignoring is that 60% of rapes and sexual assaults are not reported to the police. By making obtaining an abortion in the event of rape more onerous, these women will be directly affected.  In fact, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, a sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes in this country, and 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Please sign this petition.  Please also contact your Senators and members of Congress.  Whatever our differences over the issues of abortion, I think we can agree that rape should not require a woman to be shot, stabbed, or badly beaten before we acknowledge it is rape when a woman is the victim of a sexual assault.

Think "no" means "no"?

Well, 173 members of Congress don't.

A far-reaching anti-choice bill, introduced by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 members of the House, includes a provision that could redefine rape and set women's rights back by decades.

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 according to the New York Times, the Smith bill would narrow that use to "cases of 'forcible' rape but not statutory or coerced rape." This could mean cases where women are "drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes" would no longer count as rape.

As far too many women know, bruises and broken bones do not define rape—a lack of consent does. The Smith bill is scary. And with 173 supporters it already has a frightening chance of passage—unless the public speaks up right away with an outcry that can't be ignored.
Can you sign the petition to Congress today, demanding they oppose the sexist, anti-choice Smith bill?

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

Federal funds are already severely restricted when it comes to reproductive rights and women's health care, a situation that ends up hurting lower-income women in particular, who tend to use federally-funded services more often than wealthy women. The last thing we ought to be doing is legislating to make these laws more stringent.

In addition, the Smith bill is full of dangerous anti-choice provisions as well as the rape redefinition. Called "Stupak on Steroids" by NARAL Pro-Choice America in reference to Rep. Bart Stupak's failed attempt to push stringent restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion during the health care debate, it would "force millions of American families to pay more taxes if their health plan covers abortion care, jeopardizing abortion coverage in the private market."

The Smith bill is just the first of many attacks on women's rights to come in the new GOP-controlled House. If it moves forward, it would set an incredibly dangerous precedent for GOP action in the House for the next two years.

Can you sign the petition asking Congress to denounce the Smith bill to redefine rape? Click here.

Thanks for all you do.

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