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New House Bill Punishes Victims of Rape

Rape is one of the most heinous crimes an individual can commit. Unfortunately, it seems that the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives do not consider rape to be an unconscionable act.

On May 4, 2011, Congress passed the Republican-proposed H.R.3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”

It is an anti-choice bill that some have even described as being “pro-rape.” In essence, the GOP in the House have via law, legislated a mandate rooted in Christian dogma that abortion is a sin.

H.R. 3, although labeled as an anti-abortion bill, contains a provision that says rape has to be “forced,” as if there can be any other kind of rape. In addition, it contains provisions that allows for the IRS to monitor and audit all public and private attempts to fund abortions even in the case of rape and incest, something that will have a major impact on African American women subject to domestic and sexual abuse and assault.

Although about 80 percent of all victims are white, African American women are raped and more likely to be attacked than any other ethnic group. Moreover, children are at risk. In 2000, nearly 88,000 children in the United States experienced sexual abuse. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African American students are significantly more likely than white students to have been forced to have sexual intercourse.

According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5 percent, which equals more than 3,200 pregnancies that occur as a result of rape.

The main sponsor of the bill was Chris Smith, R-N.J. The bill obtained support and votes from all except five Republicans who were not in attendance for the vote in addition to 16 Democrats. However, what the bill ignores is that although rape is about forcing sex on an unwilling individual, it does not always have to involve brute force. It can also be accomplished by making a victim physically unable to resist via alcohol or drugs, or the threat of force. It can also be accomplished by emotionally manipulating helpless children or adults who may have diminished mental capacities, or in the example of inmates, where there is an imbalance of power as in the case of guards and inmates. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.