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Well, it didn't take long to get Republicans to drop the most immediately offensive provision of H.R. 3:

House Republicans plan to sidestep a charged debate over the distinction between “forcible rape” and “rape” by altering the language of a bill banning taxpayer subsidies for abortions.

The provision in question, written as an exemption from the ban for women who become pregnant as a result of “forcible rape,” touched off a firestorm of criticism from women’s groups, and it gained enough attention to become the subject of a satirical segment on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

But a spokesman for the bill’s author, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), says the modifier “forcible” will be dropped so that the exemption covers all forms of rape, as well as cases of incest and the endangerment of the life of the mother.

But if you read Digby yesterday, you already know that as offensive as it was, the rape redefinition was very likely a purposeful red herring, meant to generate attention and outrage, but not really a central premise of the Republican attack or reproductive rights. And if you read what I added yesterday, you also know that the most ambitious elements of the bill aren't even designed to be limited to the issue of abortion, and can reach just about anything Republicans decide they don't like.

Perhaps Republicans didn't expect to be hit so hard, so soon. But if you're surprised by the speed with which they backed off, then you might already be wondering whether this wasn't a set play after all. After all, Republicans are now in the position of having "compromised" with the first objections of the bill's opponents. Which means the David Broders of the world will be only too happy to present them with the Official Washington, D.C. Reasonableness Award, and brand those with other, similarly deep-seated objections as a bunch of whiners, for whom no Reasonable Compromise is ever good enough.

Let's not let that happen. Nor should we let any Member of Congress announce this change and declare victory over H.R. 3. If you missed the discussion yesterday, do catch yourself up on what an abject surrender it would be to let this bill's abortion restrictions go unchallenged, and the incredibly invasive and far-reaching divide and conquer weapon it hands to Republicans.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 10:46 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hm, maybe y'all could get an action diary (6+ / 0-)

    going to fight the real fight here...

  •  I don't think Congressional Dems have taken their (7+ / 0-)

    eyes off the ball. Wasserman Schultz and others have already stated that it's a meaningless rewording and that the whole bill is oppressive to womens rights. It's just more empty posturing by GOPers.

  •  What action do you suggest, David? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, mchestnutjr, Plubius

    This is a call to action:

    Let's not let that happen. Nor should we let any Member of Congress announce this change and declare victory over H.R. 3.

    Besides contacting our representatives, what do you suggest?

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~Albert Einstein

    by ParkRanger on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 10:57:04 AM PST

  •  this was incredibly toxic legislation put forth (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, arlene, Matt Z, Rustbelt Dem

    by these religious nuts.  It has real potential as a campaign issue -- especially with women voters, so these extremists should not be allowed to escape unscathed.

  •  too late; GOP-POR: Party Of Rape (7+ / 0-)

    bad branding, but this will play, and will destroy the GOP.


    80% of SUCCESS is JUST showing up

    Christina Taylor Green,RIP - Gun Control NOW

    by Churchill on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 10:57:33 AM PST

  •  And thank you, David, for pointing out the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, sullivanst

    tactics and the implications.  I appreciate it.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~Albert Einstein

    by ParkRanger on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 10:58:33 AM PST

  •  Shameless diary pimp (0+ / 0-)

    But I highlighted yesterday that a trio of Democratic Congresswomen didn't fall for the shiny object.

  •  schroedinger's fetus (4+ / 0-)

    these guys would like to have you beleive that the means of how you became pregnant don't matter, once you are pregnant, it's a blessed event, you know, like receiving a tax cut.  The second problem is that there are currently about 4 million homeless children (aka orphans) already in the US (look it up, I simply googled it and found the answer, scary enough) and its plainly obvious that Republicans have no other plan for them other than as cheap labor that they simply can't access just yet.  Once you've transitioned from the holy innocent fetushood and are born, again, you're outta luck, shouldave stayed in the womb, you were "safe" there.

    I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused - Elvis Costello "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes"

    by piratedan on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 10:59:30 AM PST

  •  This is how the Production Code... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, The Dead Man, sullivanst

    ...used to work in Hollywood.  Studios would put things obviously in violation of the Code into scripts so that the Code Administration would spike them and ignore the more subtly over-the-line material.

    We need to keep the pressure on and insist that the Senate kill this thing.

    (Wouldn't it be nice to have a pro-choice Senate Majority Leader right about now?)

  •  Republicans prove they're worse than Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreatDane

    to Catholic pro-life advocates.

    The GOP is officially no different than the Democrats when it comes to bold policy-making.  Sure, they'll work around the edges and lampoon Planned Parenthood with some gotcha videos, but they continue to support war, militarism, loopholes for abortion, wealthcare over healthcare, and invasions of personal liberty.

    Democrats would do well to simply point out that the Republican stance on abortion is not a consistently pro-life stand.  Keep hitting the hypocrisy.

    Pro-life means all life from conception to grave.  

    Republicans want God-awful activist judges, and Christians aren't any longer impressed by their rhetoric about abortion.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:04:03 AM PST

    •  I have Catholic buddy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, sullivanst, Benintn

      Who agrees with almost every position of the Democrats but he will only vote Republican because of the "Abortion" issue.

      He even realizes that he is being played when I ask him why G.W., with a Republican Congress didn't outlaw abortion.  His church has convinced him that abortion is all important and overrides all other issues.

      So far Republicans are winning the PR debate.

      "We must hang together,...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

      by GreatDane on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:11:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans play the game much better than we do. (5+ / 0-)

    Probably because they really do see it as a "Game".   They are great at shifting the "Overton Window" to make unreasonable, far right opinions seem "moderate" over time.

    "We must hang together,...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

    by GreatDane on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:04:29 AM PST

  •  If this (0+ / 0-)

    passes the Senate and gets signed, the Democrats do not deserve the Pro-Choice Vote.

    They understand this.  As such, the chances of this becoming law are about as much as my chances of being an NBA point guard.

    Note to Dems: I don't want to have to practice my jump shot, thanks.

    "Merry Merry, Happy Happy, Ho Ho Ho" - Lewis Black

    by Rustbelt Dem on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:05:08 AM PST

  •  THIS, friends, is a REAL government takeover of (10+ / 0-)

    healthcare.

    When the government prohibits people from making decisions about how their insurance policies cover medical procedures, this is an overreach.  Denying access to medical services is EXACTLY what the GOP accused Democrats of doing in 2009 and 2010.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:07:27 AM PST

  •  Republicans fear Stewart more than Obama (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreatDane, Matt Z, mchestnutjr, sullivanst

    Stewart knows how, or is willing, to use his megaphone to disrupt the right far better than Obama.

    You must compete by working more for less. Mush!

    by Paleo on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:08:37 AM PST

  •  Digby's post (6+ / 0-)

    kindly refers to an essay I did for Religion Dispatches  in 2009, outlining some of the history of the attacks on access to abortion perpetrated over the years. That essay, in turn was an adaptation of a longer piece I published in The Public Eye magazine titled, Anti-Abortion Strategy in the Age of Obama.  Folks who want to try to understand what has gone wrong, might want to check it out.

    Its a shame that it took the current outrages to really focus our attention on the sustained attacks on abortion generally, and on abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood in particular.

    The antiabortion forces gained 48 seats in the Congress in the last election, which if you believe what you read in some quarters, was not about abortion. What's more, various party and interest group wizards told us that the religious right is dead or dying; the culture wars are over or about to be, and that common ground on abortion had been found.

    Go figure.

    •  Intent is to get us to drop our guard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      HR 3 needs to die a swift death.  When a politician says that abortion is a single issue for special interests, keep your eyes and ears open.  I agree the culture war isn't over, it is covert now.  I check the network news (except Fox) online articles having to do with abortion.  They get a lot of comments, but few from the lifers.  In fact, lifers are nearly always male and the pro-choice men use them for figurative dart boards.  

      Democrats need to find their spine on this issue.  People are fed up with the megachurches driving reproductive policy in their districts.  They are also fed up with the catholic bishops, mormon council of elders and the C Street "family."

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 12:11:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When it passes Congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ivan, Matt Z

    ...I expect a presidential veto.  Not "expect" as in, "think it's likely," but "expect" as in "demand."

    Assuming it won't be vetoed, this becomes reason number 37 why I'll vote for Obama in 2012, I just won't donate to him.

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:20:18 AM PST

  •  Federal funding of fertility clinics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, arlene

    As the debate over forcible versus consensual rape instructed us, the Rs are only intent on holding accountable women who by deliberate conduct create a Sacred Human Life.

    Well, how much more culpable/responsible then are parents who deliberately create embryos they later choose to destroy?

    Oh I see.  It's only loose-moralled sluts who are to be punished by carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

    Pregnancy is the original scarlet letter.  It's the proof that God hates sluts, but boys will be boys.

    That's why the Rs really want to go after contraception (but find abortion a much easier issue to sell).  Reproductive choice and control makes women truly equal to men, truly independent.  And makes sex no longer a guilty, shameful thing, an easy lever with which to control the Flock (sex as the ultimate tool of social control).

    The whole sexual revolution, when sex lost its smutty tinge:  the Pill, and Roe v Wade.

    The next time someone genuinely or disengenuously argues to you that the innocent Human Life must be protected, and after all, the woman chose to have sex so she should be Held Accountable,

    ask them why they are not picketing fertility clinics, calling fertility doctors baby killers, stalking parents seeking fertility treatment

    Or screaming for an end to all direct and remote federal funding of fertility treatment.

    •  Some of the nuts (0+ / 0-)

      are anti-fertility treatment, too. In fact, quite a lot of them are. They're simply aware that the wider public isn't likely to respond as "well" to that cause.

      •  Not that many (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sullivanst

        I would guess.  

        I put this question to Redstate a few years ago.  Got few responses, and only one that addressed the issue, and that response was "oh, we dealt with that and decided we're ok with fertility clinics."

        The larger point is:  Make them defend that principled stand. Make the public debate finally focus the public mind on how little we should care about little embryos.

        All law and morality starts with the golden rule.  Empathy.  Recognizing that the other human being has feelings like you.

        You can't hurt an embryos feelings, because a clump of undifferentiated cells doesn't have feelings.

        From there, you should get to an intelligent discussion about when a fetus is sufficiently developed to have a right, for its own sake, to protection.  When it has feelings like you and me.

        can we at least agree that abortion in the first trimester is no big deal?  Plan B contraception is no big deal?  Does not run afoul of the golden rule, is my test and should be the easy, universal test, whether you ground it in religion or secular morality.

        And then you can explain that that's exactly what Roe v Wade does.  Allows restrictions according to how advanced fetal development is.  How those shocking third trimester partial birth blah blah abortions, really are to protect the mother's health, often also when the baby is not likely to live long.

        Etc.

        •  You and I can agree on that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arlene

          but the religious right has a completely different paradigm for how they think the law should be constructed.

          They think it should start with their interpretation of their preferred parts of the Bible, and end very shortly after. Empathy is nowhere to be found in their philosophy, and the "life starts at fertilization" crowd will never admit that stage of development should be a criterion. They won't agree that first trimester is OK, won't agree that Plan B is no big deal. Hell, they often won't agree that the pill is OK (based on the hypothesis that maybe sometimes ovulation still occurs but implantation is inhibited).

          •  But again (0+ / 0-)

            the point is to not let the religious right dominate the conversation, write the script. So that the hopefully sane part of the country can quickly understand why this is not a hard question, and that they agree with Roe, once they understand it.

            I do believe, god I hope, most of our fellow americans believe in and understand the golden rule.  

            That's the debate I want to see in this country, in those terms.  Before Beck succeeds in making "empathy" a concept to demonize and mock.

        •  If life begins at conception, then Mother Nature (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sullivanst

          is the biggest murderess of all time.

          Do these morans not even know that close to half the fertilized eggs—these unborn persons, in their minds—never actually implant in the uterus?

          We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

          by Samer on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:54:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It still damages them (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arlene, Matt Z, Greasy Grant

    Even if they intended to go too far as a political gambit, it was so extreme that it should provide some campaign fodder in 2012. In any case, we have a golden opportunity here for Obama to prove his mettle and veto this abomination should it reach his desk in any form. I hope it will just wither and die in the Senate.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:22:22 AM PST

    •  Every Congressperson who signed onto (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arlene, Matt Z, CarolinNJ

      that proposal should be exposed for the twisted ideology contained in their warped minds... kind of like Rick Santorum who spoke of 'man-on-dog sex'.  Statutory rape of a young girl isn't one of the really serious rapes?  Are they freaking serious?  If we gave them enough time they'd start coming up with some types of incest that aren't so bad, so there would be no exemption from the Hyde amendment.  Getting knocked up by your half-brother... not as bad as if he was a full brother.  Stepfathers... OMG!  Why can't we beat that party 98%-2% in every election?

      Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

      by Greasy Grant on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:32:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Removing "forceable" from the definition.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...doesn't that turn it into just sex?  I mean, if there is no force, then isn't that "consensual"?

    Let's see -

    In criminal law, rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse against another person without that person's consent.

    According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under-reported violent crime. The rate of reporting, prosecution and convictions for rape varies considerably in different jurisdictions.

    The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of U.S. rape victims are female and 9% are male, with 99% of the offenders being male. In one survey of women, only two percent of respondents who stated they were sexually assaulted said that the assault was perpetrated by a stranger. Several studies argue that male-male and female-female prison rape are quite common and may be the least reported form of rape.

    When part of a widespread and systematic practice, rape and sexual slavery are recognized as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Rape is also recognized as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted ethnic group.

    So, it seems to me that force - whether through coercion, threats, or violence - would be at the heart of the definition of "rape".  

    Not that I like the GOP, but duuuuh.  Even for them.

    •  Huh? Of course not (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Samer, Themistoclea, Matt Z, Dom9000

      "Rape" is never "just sex". From under which rock did you just crawl?

      It's a canon of construction for legal analysis that every word of a statute should be given meaning. Thus "forcible rape" would have to be interpreted by the courts as meaning something different to merely "rape".

      •  Please read, not misrepresent, what I wrote. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sullivanst

        Sullivan - You misunderstand me, and I apologize to any other that might have.  To restate:

        There is no such thing as "merely rape"  

        You can not define "rape" without the inclusion, implied or expressed, of force.

        That they are splitting hairs over the inclusion of "forceable", as if that makes a difference in reality, merely proves that they are assholes.

        It is as if they are saying, "Well, shucks, it wasn't forced, so it's ok."  It is requiring the victim of the crime to prove that they were coerced.  It is like out of the 50's, it appalls me.  

        But I never said "Rape" is "just sex", as you imply.  I said violence can not be removed from the definition.

        •  Except that actual physical force (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          martydd

          is not required to meet the definition of rape. The threat of physical force, the threat of other harm (e.g. firing) or the legal inability for the victim to give informed consent (for example because of incapacitation, unconsciousness, mental disability or age).

          The removal of the word "forcible" will have significant legal effect. And yes, the attempt to include of it does signify a real blame-the-victim attitude that is appalling. But the entire rest of the bill is still a steaming pile of doodoo.

          •  Then we can agree - (0+ / 0-)

            Tis a pile of shitte, and it stinketh, so that none may abide the smell thereof.  And the ruse of "we'll remove this word" does not legitimize the position or make the bill more palatable.  

            Worse, it shows the hand of the writers, who are quite obviously following a (barely) hidden agenda to take us back to the days of wire hangers in back alleys.

            I was just so affronted by this attempt to appear bipartisan.  I saw less the legal side, which you are quite right to point out, than the human one.  In fact, I just saw red.  

            They appeared to be taking away from the fact that people - people WE KNOW - are hurt every day, and get to carry that hurt, and are often helpless to do a damned thing about it.  

            To imply that there are situations of unwanted sexual activities that are somehow less improper because there was no knife?  It just turns my stomach.

            Thank you for the clarifying for us all that small variations can make a big difference.

  •  Only in theory o "no such thing as bad publicity" (0+ / 0-)

    could this be a set play.  Even lots of republicans are willing for an exception for rape and incest; it generated outrage, but since it was juat about gov. funding of abortions, no support.

    Silly Kids! New Years is for Rabbit!

    by Inland on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:24:52 AM PST

  •  Daily Show killed this issue Wednesday (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, arlene, Matt Z, sullivanst

    I was kinda hoping some ballsy democrat would read Kristin Schaal's script on the house floor so we could have terms like "rape-ish" and "rape-y" and "not RAPE rape" read into the record as Repubs squirmed.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    by SFOrange on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:27:24 AM PST

  •  The American Taliban is like Jason Voorhees (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Evil and always there.

  •  So it's like an American (0+ / 0-)

    Tokyo Bill?

    The truth is in the text----not the tags. by edscan on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 09:24:06AM PST

    by Dom9000 on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:31:59 AM PST

  •  If you think rape is only rape when it's forced, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Themistoclea, Matt Z, martydd, sullivanst

    you might be a Republican.

    Thank goodness the Democrats got the nerve to show the people what this bill really meant and not let the GOP spin carry the day. Shuler, Lipinski, and every Dem who supported this-screw you!

    BTW, what's the over/under on when Broder declares the Republicans the "party of compromise" or something like that?

  •  A SET PLAY, yes! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, Matt Z
    and good for pointing that out.

     It's like Ebay bidding, only different.

    Responsible people leave neither loaded guns nor paranoid, eliminationist ideologies laying around for the mentally ill to play with.

    by KenBee on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:41:14 AM PST

  •  We should seek full-blown repeal of Hyde (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randomfactor, Samer, arlene, Matt Z, sullivanst

    Force them onto the defense. Make them compromise with us for a change. And we shouldn't be "collegial" about it either.

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 11:46:27 AM PST

  •  Why am I thinking of Clayton Williams of Texas? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sullivanst

    Possibly a latent Republican attitude of the issue of rape?  Google this individual, for your entertainment.

    Show me a politician that doesn't want to gain, and/or hold onto power, and I'll show you one who can't get elected.

    by HarryParatestis on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 12:26:12 PM PST

  •  New shiny object alert! (0+ / 0-)

    Pitts, the co-author of the Stupak amendment, is at it again. He's introduced a bill that exempts anything to do with abortions from EMTALA.

    EMTALA is the bill that requires all ERs to either stabilize critical patients or, if they're unable to do so, transfer them to a hospital that can.

    So this is quite explicitly dealing with cases where the mother's life is at risk. Pitts wants Doctors to let mothers die. Did you ever need more concrete proof that for GOPers, the right to life ends at birth?

    •  The right to life ends at birth! (0+ / 0-)

      There it is. That is the motto I was looking for.

      "We don't care what happens, but if there was sex, there could be proto-people, and we need to take care of them until they are born.
      Then they can die in the street, that's fine."

      For the Right, the Right to Life Ends at Birth!

    •  I think this is an avoidance of "best practices" (0+ / 0-)

      Or Catholic hospitals not wanting secular doctors, or government agencies telling them the Catholic "best practices" aren't.

      All the Catholic doctrine defenders I've read, they're saying they have to treat both patients, or the abortion can't be "direct". So they'll use the surgical method to treat an eptopic pregnancy (even though it's surgery & affects future fertility) because it's not "direct" rather than use a chemical abortion, which would be a "direct" abortion (also easier & safer).

      They don't want to be told: no, you have to use the drug. Or, no: you have to act promptly, you can't wait for the fetal heartbeat to stop. Or have to do a direct abortion if the placenta is causing fatal heart failure.

      They're fanatics. Medical standards built on ideology (especially when it's misogynistic) can't be the equal of medical standards build on clinical studies. Hardline Catholic hospitals want to keep their women-killing ideology, but don't want to be forced to admit or defend causing injury or death in a court of law, they'll use politicians instead.

      This is a case of a group of powerful people (the bishops) waying "we have reasons" & refusing to negotiate. Rather, they're trying to game the system so the laws won't apply to them.

      Giving birth (giving life) should be a gift not an obligation or women and poor people are 2nd class by definition

      by julifolo on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 07:32:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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