Before the vote, Mother Jones1 reported that even though Republicans removed controversial language from the bill which would have "redefined rape," the House executed a backdoor maneuver that would allow them to deny federal funding for abortion even in a case involving incest and statutory rape.
Extremists were able to pass this bill in the House, but it is unlikely even to make it to the floor in the Senate. What's more, President Obama has indicated he would veto the bill should it get to his desk.
But even though we are confident the bill will go no further, we must let Rep. Simpson know that his constituents will not allow him to make extreme attacks on women part of mainstream political discourse.
The Republican bill — which was supported by 16 anti-choice Democrats — represents a vicious assault on women's rights. "The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" or H.R. 3 goes far beyond any other anti-choice measure that has been proposed in the House, including the Stupak Amendment that passed the House last year.
H.R. 3 would sharply reduce access to safe, legal abortions for women in this country by virtually eliminating insurance coverage for abortions. The redefinition of rape could be used to block women who were victims of incest involving statutory rape from using Medicaid to pay for an abortion. And in some cases, the bill would force women who were sexually assaulted into the hellish scenario of proving to IRS agents that they were victims of "forcible rape" or incest.
Let's be clear about what the anti-choice supporters of H.R. 3 want. They want to "redefine rape." They want to make it impossible for low-income women to have access to abortion services. They want to force women whose pregnancy is causing major health risks short of death (such as blindness) to go through with the pregnancy. And they want to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion in order to make reproductive care unaffordable for women.
Your representative, Rep. Simpson, voted for this bill and against women. We need you to take action now.
Becky Bond, Political Director CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "The GOP's stealth plan to redefine rape," Mother Jones, May 3, 2011.