House Republicans drop controversial 'forcible rape' language
February 3rd, 2011
01:46 PM ET
12 years ago

House Republicans drop controversial 'forcible rape' language

Washington (CNN) - Averting what would inevitably be a charged debate on the issue of rape, House Republicans Thursday dropped language from a new bill that allows for taxpayer-funded abortions only if a 'forcible rape' has occurred, a spokesperson for Rep. Chris Smith, the bill's sponsor, tells CNN.

The term 'forcible rape' as opposed to 'rape' set off a firestorm among many Democrats, who charged Republicans were attempting to roll back the long-standing federal law that allows for access of federal funds for abortion in the event of rape - without any qualifiers.

The bill – which was authored by Smith, R-New Jersey, and has more than 170 co-sponsors, seeks to expand the prohibitions of federal assistance of abortion by disallowing the use of health savings accounts to pay for the procedure or the use of tax credits and/or deductions for medical bills that relate to abortions.

But the most contested part of the bill quickly became the language that allowed for exemptions of these provisions – namely if a "forcible rape" had occurred, which opponents say is a vague definition at best and a veiled attempt to role back abortion rights at worst.
"Some kind" of rape is NOT okay. It's simple," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, wrote in a statement earlier this week. "Rape is when a woman doesn't consent to have sex, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, or not mentally stable."
The new language will now state the prohibitions on federal funding "shall not apply to an abortion if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest" - the same language as the current law.

- CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report

Filed under: Congress • House Republicans
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Russ

    And why is this even an issue. The congress represents all Americans doesn't it? There are a lot of us that want our tax dollars to fund abortion. Why, because there's no law the prohibits our tax dollars from supporting unwanted children. So unless you self rightous pro lifers (mostly men) want to adopt this children, there needs to be a "meet in the middle" attutitde on this tax dollar issue. Let's say 50% funding. That would seem fair to all people not just the pro lifers.

    February 3, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. GM

    Can rape be anything but "forcible"?

    February 3, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. EddyL

    Republicans are idiots.

    February 3, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. informed voter

    Is there any kind of rape that is not forcible?? Once again, the Republicans will waste tax payer dollars and time forcing their social agenda into a woman's personal life. What happened to creating jobs and moving the economy forward?

    February 3, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Melissa

    This is disgusting. Rape is rape!

    February 3, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "the same language as the current law."

    In other words, more redundancy from the clown car party.

    February 3, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Matt Townsend

    Good gracious – distinguishing between bad rape and not so bad rape.

    February 3, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. runswithbeer

    How about FRAUD. Man defrauds woman to have sex and children under false pretext such as he's already married. How about man takes off to Iran. Man turns out to be wife beater. Or any of a number of reasons to not have children with someone who turns out to be a fraud. who lakes THAT CALL? Or the child has a severe genetic disorder. Does the GOVERNMENT CALL that one? Does a woman have to file for PERMISSION to terminate?

    February 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Calm Dog

    "...attempt to role back abortion rights". Role? ROLE? Aw, please. That's terrible.

    February 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    All rape, by definition, is forcible.

    Beyond that, this so-called "loophole" the Republicans were trying to close funded 191 abortions in 2006. These abortions were performed as a the result of a woman becoming pregnant due to rape, incest or when the mother's life was in danger. (The law only provided for abortion under these circumstances.)

    The funds for these 191 abortions translates to 2/10 of one penny per tax payer.

    When will the Republicans drop all the political theater – disgusting political theater, in this case – and start working to create jobs for Americans?

    February 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Britannia

    REPUBLICANS – stop messing with issues that are not broken and start working with all your colleagues on how to make this nation great again!

    February 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    GOP are the scum of the earth...what would old white men know about being a young woman???

    February 3, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. betterdays

    A vague attempt to "role back" abortion rights?

    C'mon CNN, that's the second typo I've found here in three minutes. And that's just in the ticker.

    February 3, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Whatever

    JOBs, JOBs, JOBs clearly is NOT their FOCUS or PRIORITY!!!!!!!! We, the people will remember in 2012 and again in 2014!!! JOBs, JOBs, JOBs!!!!!

    February 3, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. ramtruck2500

    ... And this surprises who? Not anyone who has been watching these creeps. They need to control all aspects of outr being. Rape is Rape and thats it! they can stay away from my bedroom I dont need any monitoring of my person from a bunch of sactimonious Tea baggers!

    February 3, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. annie s

    Why do Republicans want to make sure Americans can't afford health care? First, they vote to repeal the Health Care bill, essentially condemning 44,000 Americans to needless deaths every year, now they want to make sure a woman can't use her HSA for a legal medical procedure. If only they would care half as much about the living as they do the unborn!

    February 3, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Liberal Idiots

    Rape already applies that it was forced. Redundant phrase "forcible rape".

    February 3, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Don't know about this one

    There is a differnce between rape and forcible rape? Must be a legal technicality. Isn't rape, by definition, forcible? Maybe republicans think rape is consentual. That would allow them to get away with a lot and still claim to be respectable "conservatives".

    February 3, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Louisiana Man

    Do those good, church going, bible thumping, psalm singing GOP christians ever stop in their judgmental, holier than thou stance against anyone but those whom they judge to be worthy?

    These are the hypocrites who beat the breast and curse the sinner that has blasphemed against their righteous beatitudes-
    and have the gall to sentence their preconceived dissenters to the fiery damnation of hell, while they of course sit at the right hand of god in his heavenly kingdom. YEA RIGHT!!

    February 3, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Ken in NC

    I am of the opinion that rape is the having of sex with another without their consent and or against their will. That having been said, any rape would be forcible. This amounts to politicians playing with words while the victims suffer.

    February 3, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. once upon a horse

    when is any kind of rape not forcible? These are the same folks that want a woman who may have been raped to carry the baby full term then put it up for adoption. I just wonder if they would feel the same way if the woman was a loved one of theirs. Just think if the rapist happened to a (dread) ILLEGAL or MINORITY?? I'm sure these holier than thou folks would still insist on her carrying the seed, right?

    February 3, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Tom

    There goes more of your rights at the hands of the GOP. Using your own money (from an HSA) for a medical procedure doesn't sound wrong to me ...

    February 3, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. PacificView

    It is becoming quite clear that the Republican campaining that the economy was the only priority the congress should be dealing with was just a cover to get in power and return to the culture wars. They should work on the economy and quit dreaming up ways to punish women.

    February 3, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Monster Zero

    And here I thought they were talking about Obamacare and mandated purchase of insurance policies. I believe what the 111th Congress and Obama did to responsible American citizens that pay taxes constitutes forcible rape...

    February 3, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    I thought the GOP was going to insist on including in every proposed law the precise article, section, and clause of the Constitution that granted to Congress the power to make that law.

    What, pray tell, is the precise article, section, and clause of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to fund any medical procedure?

    Congress has no more power to meddle in abortions than it does to impose socialised medicine on the country. Both are way beyond any power granted in Article I, Section 8, and both are matters clearly "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," under the Tenth Amendment.

    February 3, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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