The Republican series on how to incentivize rape while claiming they don’t have a war on women continues. The House of Representatives has voted 242-184 to pass a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The votes split along party lines with just four Republicans voting against it, one voting present, and four Democrats voting for it.
Like the “At least he doesn’t beat you” mantra, Republicans are selling their new way to incentivize rape with this heady qualification from Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), “This has a much less punitive substance to it. It’s important that when we look at the care of women who are in crisis, that we make sure they’re totally taken care of.”
Less punitive! Thanks, Republicans. But wait, by “take care of”, Republicans mean making things harder for rape victims and putting women’s health at risk. After all, this is the redo from the January debacle wherein Republicans tried to deny abortion to rape victims unless they had filed charges with law enforcement.
The new bill, put forth by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), makes it ever so slightly easier than the old bill on rape and incest victims. Republicans apparently feel that rape and incest victims need extra obstacles before being able to access their Constitutionally-protected right to privacy and liberty over their own bodies.
Furthermore, as Congresswomen Julia Brownely pointed out on the floor as she tried to protect women from Republican showboating, the GOP bill puts women at risk as written because it does not protect the long term health of the mother:
“My amendment would ensure that nothing in the bill would prevent a woman from terminating a pregnancy after 20 weeks if her health were at risk. Only 1.1 percent of abortions performed in the United States occur after the 20 week mark. These rare procedures are often the most medically difficult and dangerous cases, where women – and many of whom want to be parents – are faced with impossible decisions. As it is written, H.R. 36 would force a doctor to wait until a condition becomes life-threatening before performing an abortion. It shows no concern for the long-term health of the mother, her future ability to bear children, or her right to make her own medical decisions. It ignores that there are very real – and serious – reasons why a woman may need an abortion later in pregnancy.”
It’s kind of hard to argue that you are pro-life when your bill would actually serve to render some women infertile, if not kill them. Unless Republicans are arguing that women are not people.
So, the new bill is less on the side of rapists than the previous bill, but this is not saying much coming from the party that is making a habit of trying to pass legislation that will incentivize rape.
Although, and here’s the odd thing, under Trent’s new bill, a minor seeking an abortion still needs to have law enforcement contacted. So if a girl is raped by her father and seeks an abortion, she will have no choice but to have law enforcement involved, which will severely diminish the number of girls who seek an abortion after being raped.
This seems like it would disincentivize rape, but according to statistics, it would do the opposite. Rape is a drastically underreported crime with an average of 68% of assaults in the last five years not even being reported, with only 2% of rapists ever serving a day in prison for rape.
Given that 73% of rape victims know their assailant, fewer girls will come forward to request the medical help that they are entitled to under Trent’s bill, out of fear of reprisal. And of course, Republicans tried in 2013 to give rapists the power to stop their victim from having an abortion, in just another bizarre episode in a series of Republican attempts to incentivize rape.
Who can forget the Republican attempts to “redefine” rape, so as to make the women sound guilty or their attempt to turn rape and incest victims into criminal exhibits, thus denying them the right to an abortion by criminalizing the ending of a pregnancy?
The “new” bill, which is a lot like these old bills in that it restricts freedom and liberty for women and girls while further exploring the Republican love affair with a fetus that ends abruptly at birth, also seeks to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires women to receive medical care or counseling at least 48 hours before an abortion, but prohibits both services from being performed by her regular ob/gyn.
Of course, the Senate will most likely be the speed bump, but what this bill represents is important. It is not only yet another shot at the Supreme Court’s ruling that a woman is legally entitled to an abortion until the fetus is viable, but is is also part of an ongoing series in the Republican war on women. This series is the part where they incentivize rape and punish women and girls who are raped.
If that’s not war, what is?