Morning Roundup: Smith Will Modify Rape Definition in Horrible Bill


Chris Smith will remove the word "forcible" from his bad anti-abortion bill, NRTL says Medicaid doesn't pay for the abortions of unbattered rape victims anyway, will contraceptives become free preventative medicine, don't try to read RH Reality Check on a ferry in Canada, and the Senate does not repeal the health care law.

  • Politico reports that a spokesperson for Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) says he will modify the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” by removing the word “forcible” in regards to the rape exception in the bill. The bill is still awful, but at least that’s something. And keep in mind that in 2006, Medicaid paid for 85 abortions. Eighty-five. Let’s say those procedures cost the government $600 each. (Which is a very high estimate.) That is a cost of $51,000. Such a miniscule amount of money to the federal government, it is almost laughable.
  • The fact that Medicaid pays for so few abortions may be that the practice is already in place to deny a raped woman an abortion. Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life says that the word forcible may as well be in there, because
    while earlier anti-abortion policies did not distinguish between different kinds of rape, the reality is that the exemption was for years interpreted to only cover victims of forcible sexual assault. Now that Congress is working on a definitive package to replace the "patchwork" of abortion restrictions, Johnson said, "it is desirable to resolve ambiguities" with regard to the bill's exemptions.Ambiguities, eh? Rape is rape, it’s not ambiguous.
  • Will the new health insurance law cover prescription contraceptives at no cost? A commission is looking at the issue now, trying to determine if birth control constitutes a “preventive health service.” Widely supported by organizations and professional organizations that work with women and families, it is, not surprisingly, opposed by right-wing “family” groups and Catholic organizations.
  • Taking a ferry across British Columbia? You may not be able to read! Sites that discuss sex education and abortion are banned from the ferry’s wi-fi, along with pornography, hate speech, and online streaming. (Please note, I don’t know for certain that you can’t read this site onboard the ferry. If you happen to be on the ship, do you mind checking for us?)
  • Senate Republicans were defeated in their attempt to repeal the health care bill last night, with a party-line vote. The vote took place as an amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill.

Feb 3

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