Note: This post discusses rape and sexual assault.
Earlier this month, anti-choice leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 3, the extreme"Stupak on Steroids" bill. The "Stupak on Steroids" bill is a kitchen-sink attack on women's ability to make personal, private medical decisions, but one of its many dangerous provisions is particularly cruel: it seeks to redefine rape.
Several federal laws, most notably the Hyde amendment, bar access to abortion care for low-income womenwho rely on the federal government for their health care, with exceptions only to preserve the woman's life or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
Mother Jones reports that the "Stupak on Steroids" bill would limit the rape exception only to cases of "forcible rape," a definition that does not currently exist in federal law. Survivors of date rape, rape involving drugs or alcohol, or statutory rape would not be eligible for abortion coverage under "Stupak on Steroids":
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.
The Daily Beast talked with Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, about the attack, noting that the chilling effect of "the bill will send a message to all women that certain kinds of sexual assault don't count as rape at all."
The "Stupak on Steroids" bill is one of the farthest-reaching assaults on women's freedom and privacy that we've seen. As Donna Crane, our policy director, said, the way it would treat survivors of sexual assault is "unbelievably cruel and heartless."
Cross-posted at Blog for Choice