A feminist outpost in the desert.
Are you cringing at the title of this post? Well… Good! You should be! Because the new GOP-led Congress is putting its full weight and attention right between your legs — looking for any way possible to take control of a woman’s reproductive rights! (Another working title for this post was, “Dr. HappyRape, or How I Learned to Love my Molester’s Baby.”)
There are so many things the 112th Congress could be working on! So many pressing issues… like, I dunno… the shitty economy, high jobless rate, record foreclosures… hell, even the obesity epidemic. I’d take any of those issues being front-and-center right now over the shock-and-awe attack on reproductive rights happening RIGHT NOW! Don’t believe me? The THIRD bill introduced in the new GOP-is-going-to-take-this-country-back-from-the-socialist-nazi-Obamites-and-big-government House was? HR3 is the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (courtesy of New Jersey’s Rep. Christopher Smith).
Indeed, the first business of Rep. John Boehner’s woman-hating regime is to pull a card from the “Nazi” playbook (hey, if Glen Beck can call Obama a Nazi, surely I can call Boehner a Nazi for wanting to take away my rights simply because I have a uterus): Round up all the folks who stand for what you don’t and take away their legal freedoms! I mean, how dare women exist with their uteruses (uteri?)?! How dare they expect to be able to make personal medical decisions with the guidance of educated and trained doctors? How dare they want access to medically trained doctors! How dare they expect the medical benefits promised to them by their employer — benefits they themselves pay into — cover legal medical procedures? And how double-dog dare women seek to have access to all legal medical options! Who do women think they are? Americans? Men?!
Clearly, in Boehner’s camp it’s time to round-up all the women — and I guess children, too. (And isn’t that what the Nazi’s actually did? Oh wait, now the hyperbolic analogy is starting to make me sad instead of laugh.) Because if you look into the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act you will not only find the primer for how to scare any private insurance company away from funding abortions — which is bad enough — you will also find an agenda to CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF RAPE! Now, if you read this blog often you know that I am not prone to use the all-caps unless it is a big fucking deal.
Talk about going in with both guns blazing! Boehner and his ilk aren’t just going to talk about how we should take a “lemon situation and make lemonade” (oh Sharron Angle, your cruel, insensitivity will never stop chilling my bones). Oh no. That’s for pussies! Or, as Angle might say, “It’s time to man up!” And in Boehner’s case, I guess that means not just attacking a woman’s right to choose. No, no, no. That’s just not rapey enough. No, we need something more… you know… rapey! And there it is! If you change the definition of rape to mean only that which is “forcible” then you can really cut down on all those pesky “rape and incest” exclusions to bans on abortion coverage!
Let’s have Mother Jones fill in the blanks a little while I catch my breath:
Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.
For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.
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. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)
Wow! I mean: WOW!
That’s a new low, even for freedom-hating GOPers! Because, let’s face it. The GOP is NOT about freedoms. Unless they are the “right’ freedoms (guns!), for the “right” people. And by people, I mean men. Correction: White men. Sorry, double-correction: Rich, white men.
All joking aside, this is an unspeakable crime against Americans who are rape and incest survivors. And as I am both a woman and a survivor of molestation, this is… give me a minute…
In all honesty, it’s hard for me to even put words on this. What Rep. Smith is saying is that because I didn’t have bruises, because I didn’t fight back after 9 years of sexual violence in my own home, because I was born with female genitalia… I deserved it. I deserved whatever hell I got. I should have fought harder. I should have run out into the blood-freezing cold Alaskan night and flagged down a car that was driving by my Wasilla-country home where I had few neighbors. I should have sought out the law and begged them to believe me. I should have sought out services that did not exist. But Dear God, thank you that I never got pregnant from those circumstances! Thank God that I didn’t have to prove that I was “forcibly” raped! Because if I had — and it had been Chris Smith’s (and John Boehner’s) America — I would have had to just shut up and take it some more. I would have just had to have that baby whether I like it or not, whether I was financially, emotionally or psychologically ready or not (but not be a drain on the system by using welfare or Medicaid because I was a 13-year-old mother without even a high school diploma).
And isn’t that what “forcible” rape really is? Someone — or in this case, some government — taking away all of my personal power? For those who work toward ending sexual violence, we talk a lot about how rape is not actually about force (so often there is no physical force). Rape is about power. Rape is about a lack of consent. These laws that lay claim to my body — I do not consent to them. And yet, I cannot be alone in a voting booth without someone there wanting to take away my power. And when the laws you are talking about are actually talking about rape… suddenly the metaphor turns a shade of real.
No, I’m sure that Smith and Boehner can’t understand why I find the news of these bills (because there’s more on the way) to feel almost like a physical assault on my person. I’m sure they don’t understand that my little joke that they are like Nazis gathering up all the women to kill off our rights isn’t really that funny. But not for the reasons that they think. No, it’s not funny because in some very real ways it’s fucking true. (And whatever happened to that old GOP nut about “less government” and “smaller government”? Wouldn’t that mean they’d want less to do with my private decisions? Less government intrusion? Less Big Brother in my uterus?)
Well, I’m sorry that you hate women Chris Smith and John Boehner. I’m sorry that you hate every single survivor of sexual violence. I’m sorry that you feel that way. Because I’m here! And I’m going to keep working against people like you until there is no more need for people like me to do this work. You know, you’re hero Sarah Palin (she and I are from the same place, dontcha know?) says that we need some Mama Grizzlies. Well here I am, mother fuckers! Here. I. Am! Not what you had in mind? Too fucking bad! Because I am a mother! And now I don’t just fight for myself. I fight for my daughter. And you know how Mama Grizzlies are about their babies, dontcha? *wink*