There’s a very interesting fight building in Congress around recently-introduced legislation that would tighten federal funding restrictions on abortion procedures. The bill, H.R. 3, is sponsored by over 170 mostly GOP members of Congress, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn, and freshman Rep. Cory Gardner—Scott Tipton is not listed among the bill’s cosponsors, and we haven’t seen a reason yet why not.
A story over at the unapologetically liberal Mother Jones Magazine about H.R. 3 is getting a lot of circulation, focusing on one key change that this bill makes–to the definition of rape, in reference to the exclusion in the abortion funding ban for victims of rape and incest.
For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But 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 limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases. [Pols emphasis]
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.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion…
This proposed change comes uncomfortably close to the circumstances surrounding a bombshell story that upended the Colorado Senate race last year between Michael Bennet and Ken Buck–a “non forcible” case of alleged date rape from 2005 that Buck infamously had declined to prosecute, and proved resonant enough among women to turn them out to vote against Buck in unprecedented and tide-turning proportions. This was the decisive moment of the most costly and hard-fought Senate race in America in 2010. Whatever becomes of Sen. Bennet, we’ll be talking about this epic race, and the role women voters played in ending it, for years.
A lesson worth learning, right? We apparently ask rhetorically?
We don’t know any plainer way to say it: the gut-wrenching TV spots cosponsorship of this ill-advised bill invites next year are going to hurt. Perhaps all of them, but freshman Gardner, a prime target once the redistricting dust settles, really should have read the fine print.
I disagree that many people were upset by this decision. I wasn’t. It’s part of the job.
However, I was offended by his choice of words to describe his decision because the case was one of buyer’s remorse. More than once.
You should really speak for yourself. The fact that the perpetrator admitted to the crime is very important. The full facts of this case, and I agree Buck’s horrible words to describe it, disgusted me on a very deep level.
And lots of Colorado women with me from the numbers. I think Michael Bennet knows the only reason he is Senator right now is Colorado women gave him the job.
Just that the DA gets to make that call, and most voters acknowledge that.
It was the offensive way he tried to defend that decision that was so problematic.
It was Ken Buck’s underlying attitude which produced those choice words that was problematic.
My theory is that it was Republican women who put the knife in deep on Ken Buck because they knew he basically held a hostile and contemptuous attitude towards women.
His decision to decline to prosecute was within his job description. The circumstances of the case and his portrayal of them yielded a decisive insight into his antagonistic attitude towards women who ultimately turned on him.
Maybe Cory was out of town fund raising when the letter was passed around?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people these days who practically “don’t believe in” rape that doesn’t involve a white, heterosexual virgin being raped at gunpoint by a stranger in a dark alley. I suppose really that’s always been the case, but there were a pleasant few years where it wasn’t kosher to voice that opinion in public. These days it seems pretty much okay to state any or all of the following as fact in a lot of circles:
* Date rape doesn’t exist
* Non “forceful rape” is just sex somebody regretted in the morning
* Statutory rape laws are oppressive and wrong
* Rape is just a card women play to ruin male lives
And so on and so forth. I’ve heard this shit from men who are otherwise reasonable, sane, and kind human beings. I suspect Buck and Boehner and even Gardner have been living in echo chambers where rape just really isn’t a very big deal unless it happens to a virtuous, god-fearing virgin, at which point the appropriate response is to locate an angry minority and lynch them.
Back in the real world, repulsive misogynists seem to be getting more of a foothold in politics, but not enough to dislodge women and intelligent men, as Buck found out. Hopefully Gardner gets his ass handed to him by a woman in ’12.
This provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases leaves out the developmentally disabled as well. Lovely.
Yes, it would have been nice if Gardner had read the fine print.
Ugh, I hadn’t seen that. Of course, some people with developmental disabilities want loving adult relationships and can handle them just as maturely as most neurotypical adults (that is to say, not at all, but it’s normal 🙂 ) but there are absolutely adolescents and adults who don’t have the capacity to consent, period, much less understand pregnancy.
Don’t take this lying down just because the Senate will kill it! They should PAY for horrible bills.
Gardner should wear this like a stone around his neck.
Drugged and raped is no longer rape to Mr. Gardner? Seriously?
What is wrong with these people? I was thinking of posting a diary ‘At Least They’re Not Your State Legislature’ about my recent trip to UT and what madness they are up to over there. But now I realize in CO we just promote the looniest, most retrograde troglodytes among them to higher office, Exhibits A & B: Gardner and Lamborn.
I’m amazed there isn’t an Exhibit T…Did they forget to call Scott, or was his
handlerstaff out of the office?
I guess L’il Mikey was in the State House too…?
A rape is a rape only if the Republican white males of the U.S. Congress say it is. The women have no power or no voice. Antonin Scalia even believes that a woman is not a person. I agree with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The bill is a violent act against women. It’s hard to be shocked by Republicans, but it is shocking that they would try to redefine rape to meet their sick agenda.
will pull some midnight redistricting out of the hat and exclude Fort Collins from CD 3.
Democrats can’t hope that redistricting will pull in more Boulder County votes. The district is going to stay Republican by registration but will Gardner stray so far to the right that he ends up a Marlyn Musgrave with testicles? Does Gardner believe that he can be to the right of extreme right and still get elected? We’ll see in 2012 what his credentials are and what other pointless legislation gridlock he supports.
But in reality effects how many people?
I’m a Medicaid provider and I do abortions, and in ten years I’ve never seen a patient attempting to get coverage. I don’t imagine that this effects a huge number of women. I don’t know how one would even find the stats.
I think it’s a bit of a dog and pony show. The Rs can retract this heinous bit of callousness, which probably has minimal real world effect, and say “look we’re not so bad.” In the mean time, the wonky denial of the tax deduction for employer-based health insurance which covers abortion (87% of current policies) goes un-noticed, misunderstood, and sails through. Net effect: no more insurance coverage for ANY abortion.
I think you have it right in your last paragraph.
If this bill passes, it appears that employers could not claim a tax deduction on their employee health care plans if those plans included abortion coverage. Individuals could not use health savings account funds to pay for abortions, because those HSAs are tax-exempt. And it would restore the conditions to the Affordable Care Act that would essentially remove all abortion coverage from insurance offered through the health exchanges.
It’s not just about Medicaid any more.
One problem with H.R. 3 is its priority status. Republicans campaigned on turning the economy around not on promoting divisive wedge issues. no jobs, narrow rape definition. This thread is about Cory Gardner. He has also signed on to H.R. 97 which would legislate greenhouse gasses out of existence. He has signed on to H.R. 10 which would prevent the Obama administration from adopting any regulations unless Congress agrees. I think these actions are rookie mistakes for a swing district. More: here