… And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams. – Pres. Barack Obama
So what else is new?
In the middle of a jobs crisis, Speaker Boehner considers limiting women’s freedoms a top priority. It’s good to remember that Republicans, including their last presidential candidate John McCain, also didn’t think women’s equality in the workplace was important, standing against the Lily Lebetter Act.
This story has been gaining traction for the last week. It remains to be seen if the American public will pay attention and actually believe it’s a threat to women’s freedom. The story today is from ABC News, but Mother Jones has also been covering it:
For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, with another exemption covering pregnancies that could endanger the life of the mother.
But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to drastically limit the definition of rape and incest in these cases. The bill, with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors, has been dubbed a top priority in the new Congress by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible.
For example, 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. Rep. Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.
Women’s groups helped this situation develop because they didn’t think it was a big deal that women’s reproductive health care was targeted in the Democratic health care law. Their fecklessness unless there is an election has become the norm.
The other issue is that young women today grew up knowing their privacy was protected in law, so the encroachment doesn’t seem serious.
With the advent of wider contraceptive means, the whole argument about abortion has shifted. Abortifacients have muted the argument, because a woman can protect herself immediately. But the statutory rape angle of Speaker Boehner’s campaign reveals how closely the Republicans are targeting women’s actions and ignoring the responsibility of men engaging in sexual contact with minors. What they’ve decided is frightening.
Will anybody pay attention?
Pres. Obama’s most recent statement on Roe v. Wade is important. It seems unreal, but once again women are about to fight another abortion battle. There is seriously something wrong with the American Right if they think they can ever win the long battle against women’s freedom.
It’s just stunning, even for them, that they’re targeting minors and intending to enforce pregnancies on young girls who get hooked up with a man they shouldn’t. A man whose responsibilities are ignored, which is usually the case with the far Right.
In the 21st century, you’d think we’d be focused on wide prevention of pregnancy, with all sides coming together to make abortion truly rare. Instead the Republican Right is on a jihad to curtail women’s privacy, which doesn’t begin at 18.