House Republicans Finally Notice Their Own Disaster

As our friends at The Washington Post report, somebody finally talked some sense into tone-deaf House Republicans:

Republican lawmakers have removed the term “forcible rape” from an antiabortion bill in Congress after women’s groups accused them of trying to change the widely held definition of rape.

The bill, called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, seeks to permanently bar federal funds from being used to subsidize abortions. It allows exceptions in cases in which the pregnancy resulted from incest or when the life of the mother would be threatened if the fetus was carried to term.

In the original language, it also allowed exceptions in cases of “forcible rape.” The term provoked an outcry from critics, who said rape is by definition committed by force and that lawmakers were seeking to exclude from coverage certain kinds of rape by adding the modifier – for example, cases in which the victim was underage or unconscious.

The bill now echoes existing law by taking out the term “forcible” and excepting all cases of rape.

A spokesman for Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), a chief sponsor of the bill, said Thursday that they decided to change the term because it was being “misconstrued.” [Pols emphasis]

There he is! We haven’t seen this guy in quite awhile — the old “misconstrued defense.” The “misconstrued defense” is a close relative of the classic “rogue staffer” blame game and the fraternal twin of the “I apologize if you were offended” non-apology apology.

We didn’t do something horribly insensitive — you just misconstrued what we said! Since YOU can’t seem to understand what we really meant, we’ll just go ahead and change it.

Come 2012, we’ll have to remember to ask Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton if the “misconstrued defense” is making those attack ads any less effective against them.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Sir Robin says:

    and “forcible rape” illumination.

    Please continue to shine a light on these foibles of the right-wing brouhaha machine.

    It keeps me coming back to this site.

  2. Half Glass Full says:

    Exactly what IS the difference between “rape” and “forcible rape”?

  3. The “forcible rape” provision was the shiny eye candy designed to distract us from the fact that this bill, minus that provision, is still a nasty expansion over the current Hyde amendment which has to be renewed every year.

    All of a sudden, Democrats caught up in the glory of having the Republican extremist position removed from the bill, will be happier to sign on to what amounts to a permanent version of the original, completely unacceptable, Stupak-Pitts amendment from last year’s HCR debate.

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