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Posted at 11:29 AM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Hyde and seek on 'forcible rape'

By Jonathan Capehart

My long wait for a definition of "forcible rape" ended last night with a 7:49 p.m. e-mail from Jeff Sagnip, press secretary to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). "The term 'forcible' is going to be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment...," he wrote. Translation: retreat.

Congressional Republicans have been catching hell ever since word caught on that H.R. 3 -- the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" -- would narrow even further federal funding for the procedure by drawing a distinction between rape and "forcible rape" without actually defining what the latter is. And they deserved every minute of it.

The bill will maintain the abortion-funding restrictions under the Hyde Amendment. This still isn't a good piece of legislation, since it would bar folks from using their health savings accounts to pay for an abortion. It would also stop them from availing themselves of tax credits or deductions for medical expenses for an abortion. So, there's still some work to do. But with the unforced "forcible" fight over, House Speaker John Boehner can get the House back on track to helping to solve the nation's economic problems. After all, now that he and his party are in the majority, they have responsibility for answering Boehner's daily question of President Obama for the last two years: where are the jobs?

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 3, 2011; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Well of course these legislators are not allow in distinguishing different classes of rape. Some time ago the women's movement introduces the concept of "date rape." Which in some circumstances can be confused for consensual sex: just ask Wikileaks founder Assange during his trial.

I have always maintained there is rape and not rape. But forcible rape might be distinguished from date rape. Presumably date rape claims might not be exempted from the abortion ban.

Posted by: krush01 | February 3, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan, they're going start creating jobs right away, just as soon as they force women to deliver unwanted children, prevent public school teachers from having job security, roll back Wall St. regulations, allow unlimited pollution, raise the retirement age and swap my parents' Medicare for a voucher program. Boehner's too busy right now to give a rats ass about any jobs!

Posted by: erm321 | February 3, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

How insulting to any woman and/or child who has been raped. The fact that they would even talk about "forcible" rape says all you need to know about them. Did they really think the public would go along with this. Rape is always forcible!!!

Posted by: rlj611 | February 3, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I guess drugging someone with Rohypnol or Ketamine, then having sex with them is "just rape" because they can't usually object or say no.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | February 3, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I have always maintained there is rape and not rape. But forcible rape might be distinguished from date rape. Presumably date rape claims might not be exempted from the abortion ban.

Posted by: krush01
So apparently if a woman agrees to a date she is consenting to be raped and impregnated? Better change your thinking just in case a miracle happens and some poor woman agrees to go out with you.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | February 3, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Here is the explanation for putting the term "forcible rape" into the bill. It is a transcript of an actual conversation between a poor woman and an abortionist's receptionist.

Woman: I want an abortion.
Receptionist: Insurance card, please.
W: I don't have insurance.
R: Then you have to pay $500 cash, upfront.
W: I don't have any money. I'm poor.
R: Hmmmm. Well, we _could_ give you an abortion, and bill it to the federal government, if you got pregnant from a rape.
W: Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you; I was raped.
R: That's just fine then. Have a seat.

Posted by: dmm1 | February 3, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Women can wake up in the morning after a night of drinking next to an ugly guy and claim "rape".
Men in the same situation chew their arm off and slip out the back, jack.

Posted by: spamsux1 | February 3, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Every attempt to regulate abortion and its funding requires definitions of terms that most people would be surprised to see. Each variation in meaning can have a huge impact on an abortion's legality after the first trimester, on the funding sources available to compensate the practicioner for the service, and on any tax consequences to the recipient. Consequently, what appears to be insensitive quibbling is actually a protracted budget war.

I don't see how the tax consequences would be vital. Why? Because abortions are relatively inexpensive compared to other doctor-performed services; and people who can take advantage of the tax consequences would likely prefer to keep the record of the transaction away from an auditable account for privacy reasons.

Rape is always forcible, except when a working woman needs an abortion she cannot easily afford. Then she might find it expedient to admit that she never did sign a document saying that she agreed to the intercourse that resulted in her pregnancy. If that meets a standard for rape, then it can make all the difference for legal reasons, for funding reasons, and for tax purposes.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 3, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it rather obvious? Forcible rape as opposed to statutory rape. While illegal, statutory rape is not necessarily forcible.

Posted by: WilliamGriffin | February 3, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't it rather obvious?"

The point is not that it isn't obvious, the point is that making the distinction is ridiculous, especially if the victim of a statutory rape is just old enough to become pregnant.

Posted by: fzdybel | February 3, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

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