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Posted at 4:34 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Still waiting for a definition of 'forcible rape'

By Jonathan Capehart

After leaving a voicemail this morning, the silence from the office of Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) on my request for a definition of "forcible rape" in the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" -- or H.R. 3 -- ended today, sort of, with an e-mail from press secretary Jeff Sagnip. "I am working to get a response," he wrote in response to my e-mail from Jan. 31 and asked my deadline. This is the Web. Deadlines are fluid.

Call me old-fashioned or a stickler for details, but I've read my fair share of federal legislation. Rare is the bill that doesn't have a "definitions" section. Rarer still is the bill that seeks to fundamentally change long-standing policy through a phrase that defies logic and is left undefined. That Smith, who has held his seat for 30 years and is co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life caucus, cannot give the meaning of "forcible rape" nearly two weeks after introducing the questionable concept is, charitably speaking, sloppy and irresponsible.

Of course, waiting for such a definition isn't really necessary. We all know where Smith is coming from. In March 2009, he branded Barack Obama "an abortion president." There was this from an interview with CNSNews.com published on Jan. 26, 2010.

I think we need to pray. We need to fast. We need to pray for Obama. He is so obsessed with promoting abortion. All of his picks for secretary, under-secretary, assistant-secretary--all the gate-keepers in government--are now litmus-tested pro-abortionists, many of whom come right out of the abortion-rights movement. And these movement abortionists are trying to use everything when we know it, or sometimes when we don't know it, behind the scenes, to promote this agenda. So this is an aggressive pro-abortion administration.

And at the March for Life on Jan. 24, Smith called abortion "acceptable bigotry --prejudice against the child in the womb." He charged that such prejudice has been promoted "for decades, despite breathtaking advances in fetal medicine including microsurgery and disease mitigation underscoring the fact that an unborn child is often a patient in need of care, just like anyone else,...." Yes, you read that right.

Smith's campaign for a 15th term didn't dwell much on his pro-life work. His announcement statement had just two references to abortion. The rest of it was focused on "Obama's reckless spending," whether it was through the health-care law or adding to the public debt, and on tax cuts to spur job creation and economic growth. That tracks with the overall Republican theme for the last two years. Not a day went by in which I didn't get a Tweet from @GOPLeader demanding "Where are the jobs?"

But H.R. 3 is the first bill Smith has introduced in the 112th Congress. And he told those gathered for the March for Life that he has the "unequivocal support of Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor." In fact, Boehner lauded the bill's introduction, saying, "a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land." Maybe they have a definition for "forcible rape."

Talking Points Memo tried to get an answer from Cantor. No luck there. I've sent an e-mail seeking a definition to Don Seymour in Boehner's office. I'll update you if he or Sagnip from Smith's office provide one.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 2, 2011; 4:34 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Mr Capehart,

Let me answer that one for you:

Forcible Rape is any sex act that includes the sexual penetration of the body of another person by:
1. the use and/or threat of violence sufficient to cause grevious bodily harm or death,
2. physical and/or mental intimidation sufficient to cause a person of normal intelligence to submit to the assault,
3. deception
4. any sexual penetration of a person under the age of consent
or
5. engaging in sex acts with an insensable person.

otoh, "wishing that i had not agreed" to sex, "next day/week/month second thoughts", "what am i going to say to my husband/lover/boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/etc." and/or anything else of that sort is NOT "forcible rape" or any other sort of rape. = While "NO means NO" applies at the time of a sex act, it definitely does not apply hours/days/weeks/months later!
(sadly, about 25% of "rapes" reported to law enforcement authorities fit that description.)

Note: Most authorites on rape & "sexual assaults" believe that at least one third to one half of ACTUAL rapes & sexual assaults of other sorts are not reported directly to law enforcement.
(We LEOs usually find out about those crimes by accident and/or by investigation of some other event.)

Sincerely, Retired MP46

Posted by: retiredMP46 | February 2, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

So, there is no definition of forcible rape in this. Why aren't you also then inquiring who ever wrote 42 USC, as they use the term forcible rape there apparently without definition as well? Must be some history in what it means if it has been in a statute for awhile? Hmmm...or maybe there is a definition of it somewhere in a criminal code that is a standard known definition. Or, for that matter, do they define rape in HR 3? Why do I think you are for some reason just trying to make something out of nothing. Get over it, if it is ambiguous then it can be defined in regulations, can't it?

Posted by: Marin823 | February 2, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have been friendly to the rape lobby for quite some time now. Last year they stuck up for Halliburton's evasion and coverup of the gang rape of their employee by her co-workers. Really, I have to squint hard to see a difference between the GOP and the Taliban these days in their attitude toward women.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=3977702&page=1

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/healthwellness/143164/30_gop_senators_vote_to_defend_gang_rape/

Posted by: B2O2 | February 2, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize there was a pro-rape lobby. Is that kinda like NAMBLA?

Anyone else who wants to seriously discuss these issues:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/happy_hour_roundup_177.html

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 2, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

"an unborn child is often a patient in need of care, just like anyone else,...."

...except that, to the GOP bent on the repeal of Obamacare, "anyone else" is not entitled to have health care in the first place. Is Rep. Smith unwittingly endorsing abortion? After all, an aborted person doesn't make any demands on the health care system.

Posted by: angelas1 | February 2, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"an unborn child is often a patient in need of care, just like anyone else,...."

...except that, to the GOP bent on the repeal of Obamacare, "anyone else" is not entitled to have health care in the first place. Is Rep. Smith unwittingly endorsing abortion? After all, an aborted person doesn't make any demands on the health care system.

Posted by: angelas1 | February 2, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The term "forcible rape" does not appear anywhere in the federal criminal code. You may be confusing the term "forcible pandering", which has been legislatively defined.

Posted by: crane5 | February 2, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't realize there was a pro-rape lobby."

I honestly didn't either, until the GOP took another quantum lurch to the right in recent years. At this rate they'll be beating women with sticks to open each Congressional session that they control.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 2, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart, keep up your search for reasoned and rational behavior from our legislators. Be aware, and make sure you change position before it deforms you into a cynical, light-less person. peace.

Posted by: Super_Grover | February 3, 2011 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Where are the women leaders' voices in this article? I grow tired of conversations about the definition of rape that do not include that perspective. Why is it that only three white men have something to say here?

Posted by: bexala | February 3, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

It is something like a 'bad' migraine.

Posted by: MikeMcLamara | February 3, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Remembering the fight in Texas to get marital rape declared a crime I can say there was definitely a pro-rape lobby on the right. Don't think it has changed that much in Texas judging by what was elected in Austin. Be sure to try to get an answer from Rick Perry if he decides to run for President.

Posted by: withersb | February 3, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

to ALL,

with the exception of the learned definition of forcible rape offered by my compatriot-in-arms, Retired MP46, the responses to this editorial by Mr. Capehart have ONE thing in common: they are soley composed of NONSENSE/foolishness/ignorance of the law.

pity that nobody else, including Mr. Capehart, but "retired MP46" even "have a clue".

note: the more i learn about the left/DIMocRATS/elitists, the better i like scorpions, slugs, poisonous snakes & venomous spiders.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 3, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who uses 'DIMocRATS' or 'Obamacare' loses any credibility in the intelligence department.

Why must Republicans always dumb the conversation down?

Oh yeah, I forgot.....

Posted by: steve-2304 | February 3, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

All rape is forcible. Period. I hope Smith doesn't have a mom, wife or daughter.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 3, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

personal to "steve2304",

laughing AT you. - your SILLY/FALSE/FOOLish post marks you as a "NINNY".

but PLEASE continue to "blather on", as errant NONSENSE of that sort turns moderates/conservatives/independents into TEA PARTIERS.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 3, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

personal to "steve2304",

laughing AT you. - your SILLY/FALSE/FOOLish post marks you as a "NINNY".

but PLEASE continue to "blather on", as errant NONSENSE of that sort turns moderates/conservatives/independents into TEA PARTIERS.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 3, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

jckdoors,

your SILLY/ignorant post firmly marks you as a person "who knows NOT & knows NOT that he knows NOT". - as i said earlier, "retiredMP46" gave the ONLY correct answer to Mr. Capehart's question.

when you have the ACTUAL experience/professional knowledge that he does, be sure to come back on the forum & make INTELLIGENT comments.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 3, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I like to use CAPITOL letters to MAKE a HIGHLY opinionated remark about OTHERS thoughts, also I like to put a SNAZZY title at the END of my RANT to make me FEEL important. I am a CRAZY SARAH PALIN cult follower who DOMINATES all forumS. Also, I am 46 and wrinkly so my thoughts are no longer RELEVANT
Coordinator, cute chihuahuas tea party president

Posted by: fixcongress | February 3, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

to "fix congress":

fyi, making DUMB/UNfunny but "cutesy jokes" about "typing style" , rather than making a rational counter-argument, makes you LOOK like a DUNCE.

laughing AT you!

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 3, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

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