Legislative Rape: GOP Seeks to End Abortion Assistance to Rape Victims


Being raped is awful enough, but as any rape victim can tell you, the assault itself is often just the beginning of your troubles.  In an ideal world, you could just go straight to the police, not just to get justice, but in order to stop a rapist, since most rapists are repeat offenders and attack a number of victims if not stopped.  You would reach out to others for support, and you would get it.  You would be believed.  You would get swift, quality medical care.

In the real world, this often doesn’t work out.  Being believed is a big obstacle for victims, especially if their attackers have some social status.  The criminal justice system is torturous, and many victims report feeling like they’ve been raped all over again, particularly when faced with defense attorneys who use past sexual activity as “evidence” that you had relinquished your right to say no.  For these reasons, it’s understandable that many rape victims just give up, and don’t try to get support at all.

But for one class of victims, shoving the rape down the memory hole and not reaching out for help isn’t an option.  If you’re forcibly impregnated along with being raped, then you have to get medical care.  Many victims require an abortion.  And it’s these women that Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) particularly singled out for added abuse in the misnamed “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act”, which has language that implies that any rape victim who wasn’t also beaten down isn’t really a rape victim.  Yes, that includes minors who have been abused by older men. All of these women, if impregnated in the course of their assault, will be put in the same bucket as women who were impregnated during consensual acts, as ineligible for any insurance funding for abortion.  (Functionally, at least—the bill is complex, but the result of it will be the end of insurance funding or health care savings account funding for abortion.) 

Obviously, this bill is an attack on all women. Even if you deliberately had sex, you should have a right to equal access to abortion funding as for any other health care funding. Restrictions on abortion care are sexist discrimination.  But by putting rape victims into a hierarchy, where 70 percent of rapes aren’t considered “real” rapes, and then requiring women to prove they’re “worthy” rape victims, you are adding insult to injury for women who are going through the trauma of rape and forcible impregnation. 

Sadly, we have a pretty good idea how traumatic it can be to require that rape victims prove themselves if they want decent medical care.  This belief that some rape victims don’t deserve good treatment because they were somehow not raped enough is so pervasive that many rape victims who aren’t pregnant still find themselves faced with callous treatment at the hands of medical professionals who don’t think rape counts without a solid beatdown to accompany it—or who think that rape just doesn’t count as assault at all.

Take, for instance, the story of a Howard University student who found that getting help after a rape can be impossible if you had anything to drink prior to the rape.  (Would we suggest that mugging victims gave up their right to keep their possessions if they consumed alcohol prior to the mugging?)  The student tried to do the right thing after she claims she was raped at a party—she tried to go to the hospital and submit to what is often a miserable and humiliating rape kit, in the hopes of getting both justice and decent medical care.  But as Amanda Hess notes, she was stonewalled at every turn.

That weekend, Hannah claims that she was provided the following excuses for why she could not receive a sexual assault medical forensic examination: She was drunk; she ate a sandwich; she was a liar; she didn’t know her attacker’s last name; the police had to authorize the exam; she was outside the hospital’s jurisdiction; she wasn’t reporting a real crime; she was blacked out; she changed her story; her case was already closed.

While suffering through this, Hannah was basically denied the right to take care of her body, eat, brush her teeth, or even to shower, because she didn’t want to destroy evidence. The only medical care she received for the rape was some drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV. 

Hannah’s case is sadly not unusual.  Many rape victims find sexist, suspicious medical and police officials are willing to further their trauma by blocking access not just to justice, but to medical care after a rape.  Women’s rights activists have discovered an epidemic of women being denied access to emergency contraception after a rape, even though the sooner the drugs are taken the more likely they are to work.  Some states have passed laws requiring that this access is provided, but since women are often stonewalled in getting rape kits done in the first place, there are holes in the system. And even if you do get the necessary rape kit, there’s no guarantee that it will be processed.

Chris Smith and the 182 co-sponsors of HR3 don’t think rape victims have suffered enough.  On top of all these other miseries, they want those impregnated to prove the rape was somehow rape-y enough to get an abortion.  They want rape victims to have to convince bureaucrats—who may or may not be sympathetic to rape victims—that they were beaten enough, threatened enough, in enough fear of their lives before they are allowed funding to avoid giving birth to a rapist’s child.  Anyone who falls short will be told that she has to pay for it herself, with the implication being that she somehow asked to be forced to have sex and forced to be pregnant by a man gets off on raping women. 

The only silver lining in all this is that it’s a good opportunity to highlight how little anti-choicers care about women.

If you want to follow the online reaction, a Twitter hashtag labeled #dearjohn (for John Boehner, who called this bill a “top priority”) has been started.  You can learn more about the Twitter campaign from Sady Doyle, who started the hashtag.      

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  • bj-survivor

    and it’s obvious that nothing has changed. I knew better than to go to the police after I was raped. After all, a junior high school girl was gang-raped by boys she thought were her friends, had a 40-ouncer bottle kicked inside of her, was hospitalized as a result of her injuries and she couldn’t get a conviction. There were even people I knew who claimed that she “asked for it.” Yeah, I know it was my dream to be brutally gang-raped for my first sexual experience. Isn’t it every girl’s fantasy? /sarcasm (in case it wasn’t apparent)

     

    Unlike that young girl, I was in my early 20s and was far from a virgin. I submitted to the perp because I could sense that he was going to get violent if I refused. I convinced him to wear a condom, because the though of getting pregnant or contracting an STD was too horrifying to risk. I knew better than to think there would be any sort of justice for me if I went to the authorities. Because, obviously, it wasn’t really rape if I didn’t get the shit beaten out of me and leave myself open for STDs and pregnancy and even then it still may not be considered “really rape” but just good-natured “boys will be boys” sowing their wild oats. I fault myself for trusting someone I barely knew and for letting down my guard and somehow, inexplicably, not leaving myself an escape route. But those are certainly not crimes deserving of the punishment of rape.

  • saltyc

    BJ survivor, I am sorry for your experience. 

    What are they telling victims of assault to do, to ignore their own survival instincts and ask for a fight? That a good and proper girl gets beaten up in the course of being raped, and if you survive in one piece you were asking for it? That you must choose your life and health or to be believed? Like only a witch survives a drowning? Amanda is right, at least now their virulent misogyny is spelled out, instead of a hidden fact that rape exceptions are very rarely carried out, as with the rape exception in the Hyde amendment.

  • stacey-burns

    It is also worth noting that denying abortion to rape victims is nothing new.

    The Hyde Amendment did not originally include an exception for rape. That was added in 1993, under Clinton. However, as SaltyC notes, Medicaid rarely covers abortion even in these instances (See The Myth of the Rape Exception and Public Funding for Abortion in Cases of Rape, Incest, and Life Endangerment.)

  • beenthere72

    That’s horrible, BJ, I’m so sorry for what you went through.   

     

    I was on vacation with my family last week and heard this story in the news (don’t know if anybody mentioned it here yet since I’ve been off-line all week and am just catching up):

    http://www.10news.com/news/26598731/detail.html

     

    My own father couldn’t believe a husband could be charged with rape and also said something along the lines of:  well if there’s no permanent damage, how can it be rape?    Ugh!

     

     

  • view2

    It amazes me that when you talk to anti-choice (esp those that are Republican), they will shudder at stories of middle eastern women who are beaten, or who have acid thrown on their faces simply because they were raped and are somehow said to be “responsible for disgracing their families”. How ironic it is to me that American women who are raped have to prove to the GOP they were brutally attacked and raped badly enough to qualify for abortion coverage. The hypocrisy and misogyny is beyond comprehension.

  • rebellious-grrl

    BJ Survivor, I am so sorry you were raped. Thank you for sharing your story. You are NOT at fault, you are a survivor. Stay strong.

    When I was in eight grade I knew a girl that was raped by three boys. In court they excused the boys’ criminal actions as “boys will be boys.” She committed suicide years later. I know many women who have been raped and few ever reported it to the police because of a fear of being judged and humiliated in the court system.

  • princess-rot

    I do like (read: loathe) how this bill has a presumption of innocence until proven guilty for the defending party, but the victim, should she want an abortion, is treated like a lying fraud until proven innocent throughout, and she all the burden of meeting arbitrary definitions of “forcible” rape as set by people who seem to believe that Bill Napoli’s definition of a “real” rape is the only legitimate one.

     

     

  • princess-rot

    It may also be good to remind these privileged rape apologists (especially the women who voted for it, on the privilege part) that throwing civilian women under the bus ended Bart Stupak’s career, even if his odious bill did succeed. Passing damaging bills in exchange to curry favor with Repubs who will boost your own political survival power… remember that Wingnut welfare or sympathy is not guaranteed.

     

    View2, I have been reading extensively lately about the implicit racism, classism, misogyny, xenophobia, presumptions of superiority and privilege in politicians who enable and support anti-woman causes -  and I found that anti-choice politicians generally accept four exceptions: Virgin Raped By Stranger In An Alley At Gunpoint, Rich People Who Can Bribe Doctors, Myself, and My Daughter. The hypocrisy is unsurprising.

  • nonsense-nonsense

    I have no idea where you’re getting your information from, but Stupak would have won re-election if he would have run. Not only that, but the idea that “throwing civilian women under the bus ended Bart Stupak’s career” is ridiculous, especially when you consider that his seat is now being held by a pro-life Republican.

  • rebellious-grrl

    I’m so angry at the GOP, I could spit fire. This bill is unnecessary and a complete waste of taxpayer time even discussing it. The health care law is consistent with existing regulations on federal funding for abortion. This proposed bill is anti-woman and downright misogynistic! It is filled with spite and hate for women. On top of the already insulting insinuation that women will have to prove they were “forcibly raped” (as if being raped isn’t horrible enough) the bill also has very negative tax and health insurance implications as well.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201101240022

    Bill Introduced By Congress Changes Tax Treatment For Purely Private Insurance Plans That Cover Abortion. The GOP’s “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” contains a section prohibiting tax benefits for “a health benefits plan that includes coverage of abortion.” From the bill:
    ”SEC. 303. PROHIBITION ON TAX BENEFITS RELATING TO ABORTION.
    ”For taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of this section
    ”(1) no credit shall be allowed under the internal revenue laws with respect to amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or with respect to amounts paid or incurred for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion,
    ”(2) for purposes of determining any deduction for expenses paid for medical care of the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse or dependents, amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or for a health benefits plan that includes coverage of abortion shall not be taken into account, and
    ”(3) in the case of any tax-preferred trust or account the purpose of which is to pay medical expenses of the account beneficiary, any amount paid or distributed from such an account for an abortion shall be included in the gross income of such beneficiary. [H.R. 3, The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, 1/20/11]

  • beenthere72
  • nonsense-nonsense

    So after a little bit of investigation, I found that the following statement:

     

    But for one class of victims, shoving the rape down the memory hole and not reaching out for help isn’t an option. If you’re forcibly impregnated along with being raped, then you have to get medical care. Many victims require an abortion. And it’s these women that Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) particularly singled out for added abuse in the misnamed “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act”, which has language that implies that any rape victim who wasn’t also beaten down isn’t really a rape victim. Yes, that includes minors who have been abused by older men.

     

    To be complete hogwash. Forcible rape is already defined by the UCR and NIBRS.

     

    Issue # 5: Clarification Regarding the Definition of Forcible Rape in the Summary system and the NIBRS

     

    It is well known that the NIBRS definition of Forcible Rape allows for the possibility of a male victim and a female offender, which is not permissible in the Summary system. However, there are additional, albeit subtle, differences in reporting forcible rape between the NIBRS and Summary system as well. In the Summary system, forcible rape is defined as “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” (Emphasis added) (UCR Handbook [2004], page 19.) In the NIBRS, forcible rape is defined as “The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.” (Emphasis added) (NIBRS Volume 1: Data Collection Guidelines [August 2000], page 33.) The discrepancy exists with the and/or wording of the NIBRS definition. Literal interpretations of the definitions indicate that Summary agencies should ensure that both circumstances should be met before classifying an offense as a Forcible Rape and NIBRS agencies need only one circumstance to meet the classification. However, the national Program staff do not discern a substantive difference between the two definitions outside of gender; the change in language reflects a clarification of the intent of the collection of this offense rather than a modification. There is not a substantive difference between the Summary and NIBRS definitions on this particular point, i.e., in either system, the carnal knowledge is obtained forcibly and/or against the respective victim’s will. The FBI requests that all law enforcement agencies, whether the agencies submit data via the Summary system or the NIBRS, report forcible rape as appropriate.

     

    Incest is still covered. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t some grand plan to redefine rape. Rather, the legislatures are merely updating the law to be in line with UC and NIBRS definitions. Now, in case you’re wondering, statutory rape is not included because, by definition, even if both parties willingly agree to engage in sex, an 18 year-old who sleeps with a 15 year-old female commits statutory rape (depending on the state). Under such a situation, it would be hard to justify paying for an abortion for the 15 year-old if she wants one since she willingly engaged in sex, the sex was not against her will and she wasn’t drugged. Forcible rape covers everything that could be a contingency.

  • ack

    Now, in case you’re wondering, statutory rape is not included because, by definition, even if both parties willingly agree to engage in sex, an 18 year-old who sleeps with a 15 year-old female commits statutory rape (depending on the state). Under such a situation, it would be hard to justify paying for an abortion for the 15 year-old if she wants one since she willingly engaged in sex, the sex was not against her will and she wasn’t drugged.

     

    What if the guy is 24? 35? 50? If there’s no incapacitation, there’s no abortion coverage. There is, however, an inherent power imbalance that lends itself to sexual assault.

     

    It’s my understanding that the “carnal knowledge” definition also excludes anything other than penile-vaginal intercourse. While that’s clearly the act that results in pregnancy, it’s also entirely possible that a person would consent to having a specific penis in her vagina, only to have the situation progress to non-consensual oral, anal, or digital sex. That’s rape. And those victims wouldn’t be covered.

     

    More simply, if the sponsors want it to coincide with the UCR or NIBRS standards, they should define it in the bill. I’m opposed to any restriction of the definition, however, since rape victims already face seemingly endless challenges to both medical care and justice. No woman should have to PROVE she was raped to get access to emergency contraception or abortion. Her healing shouldn’t be restricted because her experience doesn’t meet society’s definition of “rape-rape.” Asking survivors to do so is fucking heartless.

  • plume-assassine

    Forcible rape, however, is not defined in the federal criminal code. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sup_01_18_10_I.html And the authors of the bill also do not offer their own definition.

    Incest is still covered

    No, in this bill, incest is only covered if the victim is under 18 years old. It ALSO does not cover anyone who was drunk or drugged and then raped. Is that what you want? That sure as hell sounds like a re-definition of rape to me.

     

    Under such a situation, it would be hard to justify paying for an abortion for the 15 year-old if she wants one since she willingly engaged in sex, the sex was not against her will and she wasn’t drugged

    Oh, thank you for the mansplaining… hard to justify, eh? Because she “consented” to sex and therefore “consented” to pregnancy? Do you think a 15-year-old is capable of giving consent to a 49-year-old too?

  • princess-rot

    I meant it ended his career’s power boost from the Teabaggers – somebody even shouted “babykiller” at him when he failed to push through a full-strength anti-abortion amendment. In their view, he didn’t go far enough in his fetus fetish, and, as you say, he is no longer in that seat. He has been replaced with another identikit anti-choice dittohead, and he’s been shoved back into obscurity. Who had heard of Senator Stupak before the amendment, and how much have you heard of him after it failed to be sufficiently detrimental? What I’m saying is that wingnut support is based on how well you lick boots, not how good a politician you are, therefore you are entirely disposable. Which you would have understood, if you were paying attention.

  • princess-rot

    Cuts tax benefits to any organization or individual that selects an insurance policy that covers abortion. As it stands, most private insurers cover abortion care. This bill, though, cuts tax subsidies that are given to small business owners if those business owners select insurance plans that cover abortion. The same is true for individuals who purchase insurance. This bill would virtually ensure that private insurance companies drop abortion coverage — even where abortions are medically necessary.

     

    Source

    Basically, even if you can afford coverage,  you will still have to somehow afford to pay upfront and out-of-pocket if you need an abortion. Class war? What class war?

  • ack

    Thanks for the definition link (or rather, lack of a definition…) The UCR and NIBRS are reporting systems, not laws.

  • hnachem

    This issue is something that is extremely important to our ongoing struggle for women’s rights. At EMILY’s List, we know that over the past 26 years, our members have fought for the freedoms my generation enjoys today by helping to elect pro-choice Democratic women. We’re asking the GOP: what are your priorities? You spoke of an economic mandate, but your actions show a dedication to rolling back the rights of women.
     
    Join EMILY’s List in sending this message to Speaker Boehner: we will not stand for these attacks on women’s rights.
     
    Visit http://boehnersamerica.com today to join us.

     

     

     

  • crowepps

    Under such a situation, it would be hard to justify paying for an abortion for the 15 year-old if she wants one

    I wouldn’t have any trouble at all justifying it.  15 years old, not old enough to give a valid consent to sex, and therefore as a VICTIM if she doesn’t want to remain pregnant, free abortion.  Personally, I think free abortions should be provided, no questions asked, to ALL girls under the age of consent as well as all victims of crimes.  While those who believe ‘human beings’ are most valuable before they’re born may find that hard to justify, most of us would not at all.  The vast majority of the population approves of the government paying for abortions in cases of rape and incest.

  • beenthere72

    I get the feeling that Nonsense doesn’t have any daughters or little sisters.   If he did, the thought of someone over the age of 18 having sex with them, whether they consented or not,  would get his blood boiling and he wouldn’t be so ‘eh, big deal, small age difference’ about it.  

  • nonsense-nonsense

    Forcible rape, however, is not defined in the federal criminal code. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sup_01_18_10_I.html And the authors of the bill also do not offer their own definition.

     

    If you’re going to go the route of pointing out that the forcible rape is not defined by the Federal Criminal Code, then I feel compelled to point out to you that the Federal Criminal Code doesn’t define rape, as it doesn’t use the term rape at all. You are more than welcome to look through the entire thing in order to prove me wrong, however, as I know you probably want to do so. So, I guess, the burning question is what is the definition of rape?

     

    No, in this bill, incest is only covered if the victim is under 18 years old. It ALSO does not cover anyone who was drunk or drugged and then raped. Is that what you want? That sure as hell sounds like a re-definition of rape to me.

     

    Here’s a foremost question for you. How can you redefine that which is not defined by the Federal Criminal Code, of which you seem to be using as the definitive source for definitions? You cannot, unless you’re defining rape using a source other than the Federal Criminal Code, as the criminal code itself avoids using the term.

     

    Anyway, rape and incest go hand and hand. Someone who willingly engages in sex is not treated the same as one who does not; who you have sex with is immaterial to this fact.

     

    Oh, thank you for the mansplaining… hard to justify, eh? Because she “consented” to sex and therefore “consented” to pregnancy? Do you think a 15-year-old is capable of giving consent to a 49-year-old too?

     

    The key part of what I wrote out that you blatantly ignored– against her will. Even if a minor cannot legally consent to sex with a 49-year old, it doesn’t mean it was against her will. If you’re going to strawman, then save both my time and your time by not bothering to respond at all.

  • prochoiceferret

    The key part of what I wrote out that you blatantly ignored– against her will. Even if a minor cannot legally consent to sex with a 49-year old, it doesn’t mean it was against her will.

     

    Yes, I’m sure that if you give a minor enough candy, and ask really, really nicely, she may be quite willing to perform a sex act upon your shriveled 49-year-old penis.

     

    Most people who don’t enjoy that sort of thing, however, don’t draw a distinction between “against her will” and “unable to give legal consent.”

  • nonsense-nonsense

    Aside from the fact that you seem to be under the assumption that there is a Federal age limit as to where someone can consent to sex (there isn’t, as each state sets it’s own age limits which vary widely, with the lower limit being the onset of puberty), not being able to consent to something does not mean it’s done against their will. Trying to argue that, say, a fifteen who old who is perfectly competent is a victim because she chooses to sleep with an adult is pretty ridiculous, for it assumes that anyone under the age of X doesn’t really understand their actions.

     

    Anyway, most people agree that the government should pay for an abortion if a women is raped, as it’s done against her will. Not if she willingly agrees to participate in sex and then gets pregnant as a result. You are conflating two very different issues for no other reason than to try to make a point where you have none.

  • nonsense-nonsense

    For what it’s worth, anyone who would take candy for sex is usually pre-pubscent, and there’s actually a Federal law against sex with children under 12, unlike sex with a 15 year old. Neither consent nor it being against his or her will would matter in such a case.

  • plume-assassine

    Federal Criminal Code doesn’t define rape, as it doesn’t use the term rape at all.

    Here’s a question for you — howcome you don’t think “aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse” are synonyms for the term “rape”? Are you telling me that aggravated sexual abuse is different from rape? They are the same. The definitions also include victims who were assaulted after being coerced, while unconscious, drugged or under the influence of drugs,  or are otherwise unable to give consent. “Forcible rape” as the “new” definition of rape does not include the above victims as “real” victims of rape.

     

     Even if a minor cannot legally consent to sex with a 49-year old, it doesn’t mean it was against her will.

    I would argue that not only can a minor not legally consent to sex with a 49-year-old, I would also argue that a minor is not psychologically capable of giving consent to a 49-year-old. There is an extreme imbalance of age and power that muddies the waters of actual consent. It is impossible to determine if consent was mutual because that kind of power imbalance is ripe for abuse. The same goes for incestuous relationships — there is usually a history of abuse. Teenagers are still developing psychologically and make irrational decisions. To claim that a 15-year-old has the agency and psychological awareness to consent to sex with a 49-year-old is wrong. That kind of relationship is not psychologically equivalent the scenario of two 15-year-olds having sex.

  • plume-assassine

    I would also like to add that the statement, “Even if a minor cannot legally consent to sex with a 49-year old, it doesn’t mean it was against her will” is the kind of shit you hear on Dateline: To Catch a Predator. I don’t care if a sexually frustrated minor talks to you online and invites you over; they cannot consent to sex, legally or psychologically. I would say that a 15-year-old cannot consent to sex with an 18-year-old either. If I were a parent, I would be very worried about that age difference, too. Three years is not a big difference when you’re both in your twenties or thirties… but in the teens, the difference in psychological maturity can be a very big deal. The frontal lobe (the seat of reason and logical thinking in the brain) is not usually finished developing until the age of ~21.

  • nonsense-nonsense

    Here’s a question for you — howcome you don’t think “aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse” are synonyms for the term “rape”? Are you telling me that aggravated sexual abuse is different from rape? They are the same. The definitions also include victims who were assaulted after being coerced, while unconscious, drugged or under the influence of drugs,  or are otherwise unable to give consent. “Forcible rape” as the “new” definition of rape does not include the above victims as “real” victims of rape.

     

    Wait a minute now. So you first claim that the FCC doesn’t define forcible rape, and when I point out to you that it doesn’t define rape at all, you then claim that rape is a substitute for aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse while also claiming that forcible rape is entirely different than aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse even though I specifically showed you where forcible rape is defined? That’s just being plain disingenuous in the worst way. Either you need to admit that the FCC doesn’t define rape, which it doesn’t, meaning that this bill can’t redefine rape, or you need to admit that much the same way you assume rape to be equivalent for aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse, that it’s the same for forcible rape. Whichever it is, if not both, it really doesn’t matter as, in the end, the lot of you are crying foul over a word which doesn’t change anything.

     

    I would argue that not only can a minor not legally consent to sex with a 49-year-old, I would also argue that a minor is not psychologically capable of giving consent to a 49-year-old. There is an extreme imbalance of age and power that muddies the waters of actual consent. It is impossible to determine if consent was mutual because that kind of power imbalance is ripe for abuse. The same goes for incestuous relationships — there is usually a history of abuse. Teenagers are still developing psychologically and make irrational decisions. To claim that a 15-year-old has the agency and psychological awareness to consent to sex with a 49-year-old is wrong. That kind of relationship is not psychologically equivalent the scenario of two 15-year-olds having sex.

     

    And, quite frankly, you’d be wrong. Your argument is based on a false premise. Age as a general measuring stick of the phychological capability to give consent to sex is arbitrary. There are 15 year olds who are far more competent when it comes to making the decision to have sex than are some adults. Most any psychologist would be able to tell you this, which is part of the reason why there’s no set Federal standard for sex with a post-puberty minor. They are all defined at the state level (and most of them are thrown out if the two are wed). Anyway, you still didn’t address the fact that not being able to give consent doesn’t mean something is done against your will. The two are not mutally dependent.

  • prochoiceferret

    For what it’s worth, anyone who would take candy for sex is usually pre-pubscent, and there’s actually a Federal law against sex with children under 12, unlike sex with a 15 year old.

     

    It’s a good thing you’re well-acquainted with the relevant federal laws.

     

    Neither consent nor it being against his or her will would matter in such a case.

     

    Though when it comes to abortion funding, I’m sure you’ll still be asking whether that 11-year-old girl had the hots for that 49-year-old man.

  • arekushieru

    SO many things wrong with this.  If the fact that the FCC doesn’t define rape, at all, means that this bill can’t redefine the definition for rape, it certainly means that the bill can’t even define rape/forcible rape, at all, EITHER (yet, somehow, you’ve pointed out where this is actually the case).  Because, otherwise, it would just be… redefining the definition of rape/forcible rape.  And if it does, thus, redefine forcible rape, then how can one assume that it is STILL the equivalent of sexual abuse/aggravated sexual abuse and rape?

    Umm, most neurologists recognize that the brain doesn’t stop growing until someone is, at least, 25 years of age.  Which means that, while a fifteen-year-old may be more competent at making these kinds of decisions than adults twice his/her age are, it doesn’t mean he/she is able to implement ALL aspects of the fully-developed brains cognitive functions, as they would be able to do.  

    Um, if someone doesn’t consent to something, it’s done against a person’s will.  The two cannot be mutually exCLUSive.

     

  • goatini

    a guy trying to convince Chris Hansen that all the nasty bits of the chat log were the 15-year-old’s idea.

  • goatini

    a man who is very well informed of the age of consent in all 50 states.  

  • arekushieru

    Anyway, rape and incest go hand and hand. Someone who willingly engages in sex is not treated the same as one who does not; who you have sex with is immaterial to this fact.

    Umm, now THIS is disingenuousness at it’s best.  How can rape and incest go hand in hand, especially considering that some incestuous relationships ARE willing, even MOREso when using your own definition, when rape and underaged/adult relationships don’t necessarily, even within that same definition of yours?  

  • goatini

    And an apologist for the Warren Jeffs’ of the world – “and most of them are thrown out if the two are wed”

     

    Reported.  

  • plume-assassine

    Wait a minute now. So you first claim that the FCC doesn’t define forcible rape, and when I point out to you that it doesn’t define rape at all, you then claim that rape is a substitute for aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse while also claiming that forcible rape is entirely different than aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse even though I specifically showed you where forcible rape is defined? That’s just being plain disingenuous in the worst way. Either you need to admit that the FCC doesn’t define rape, which it doesn’t, meaning that this bill can’t redefine rape, or you need to admit that much the same way you assume rape to be equivalent for aggravated sexual abuse/sexual abuse, that it’s the same for forcible rape. Whichever it is, if not both, it really doesn’t matter as, in the end, the lot of you are crying foul over a word which doesn’t change anything.

    The problem is the adjective “forcible” – which specifically takes away non-physical coercion including unconsciousness or the prescense of drugs or statutory rape. That is the intention of this bill, is to de-legitimize rape if a victim was, say, drunk or unconscious. Aggravated sexual abuse in the Federal Criminal Code - (although it does not have the word ”rape”) includes coercion, unconsciousness, statutory rape, prescense of drugs as a form of sexual abuse. “Forcible rape” would not include any of that. What do you think honestly think Chris Smith’s intention is for this bill? Here’s a hint: it’s not about keeping the definition of rape in line with the NBIRS, as you stated in an earlier comment. It’s about denying abortion coverage to women who do not fall under a “certain” category of rape.

     

    And, quite frankly, you’d be wrong. Your argument is based on a false premise. Age as a general measuring stick of the phychological capability to give consent to sex is arbitrary. There are 15 year olds who are far more competent when it comes to making the decision to have sex than are some adults. Most any psychologist would be able to tell you this, which is part of the reason why there’s no set Federal standard for sex with a post-puberty minor. They are all defined at the state level (and most of them are thrown out if the two are wed).

     

    Age as a general measuring stick of the capability to give consent is arbitrary? Are you serious? We are talking about children and teenagers here. Do you understand why these laws exist at all? In my opinion, it should be defined at the federal level in order to prevent children from being sexually abused. Do you have sources for “most any” of the psychologists that say it’s psychologically healthy for a 15-year-old to be having sex with someone who is several years their senior? There is an imbalance of power. Therefore, determining mutual consent is much harder than it would be for a psychologist to determine mutual consent between two 15-year-olds. That would be easier to do.

     

    Anyway, you still didn’t address the fact that not being able to give consent doesn’t mean something is done against your will. The two are not mutally dependent.

     What the hell? Am I misinterpreting what you’re saying, or…?

    If someone is NOT ABLE TO GIVE CONSENT, PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND/OR LEGALLY, how is that NOT rape?

  • nonsense-nonsense

    SO many things wrong with this.  If the fact that the FCC doesn’t define rape, at all, means that this bill can’t redefine the definition for rape, it certainly means that the bill can’t even define rape/forcible rape, at all, EITHER (yet, somehow, you’ve pointed out where this is actually the case).  Because, otherwise, it would just be… redefining the definition of rape/forcible rape.  And if it does, thus, redefine forcible rape, then how can one assume that it is STILL the equivalent of sexual abuse/aggravated sexual abuse and rape?

     

    You don’t really understand what you type out, do you? If the FCC doesn’t define rape, then this bill can’t redefine what rape is. The only way this bill can redefine rape, is if there’s some established definition of rape by which the bill contradicts. But, as evidenced above, there is no established definition of the word rape (according to the FCC, anyway), so that’s an impossibility, especially considering the fact that the bill doesn’t define rape. Furthermore, the only way this bill can redefine forcible rape is if it contradicts the established definition of forcible rape. However, the bill doesn’t define forcible rape, it merely uses the term, which means we have to go elsewhere to see what the established definition of forcible rape is. And as evidenced above by the appropriate links, forcible rape is defined in a way to not only be synonymous with aggravated sexual assault, which someone else said was synonymous with rape, but to include instances where the women is drugged or incapacitated, meaning that forcible rape is the equivalent to rape, ultimately meaning that none of the people complaining have any legitimate argument outside of baseless, and absurd, fearmongering. But that really doesn’t surprise me, all things considered.

     

    Umm, most neurologists recognize that the brain doesn’t stop growing until someone is, at least, 25 years of age.  Which means that, while a fifteen-year-old may be more competent at making these kinds of decisions than adults twice his/her age are, it doesn’t mean he/she is able to implement ALL aspects of the fully-developed brains cognitive functions, as they would be able to do.

     

    Number one, the brain becomes fully developed once an individual reaches their early twenties. Number two, taking what you wrote at face value would mean that a 40 year-old who has sex with a 24 year-old should convicted of statutory rape, because the 24 year-old would not be able to “implement all aspects of the fully-developed brain’s cognitive functions”, on account of his or her brain not being fully developed, while the 40 year-old would. But surely you wouldn’t assert as much, because that would be ridiculous. Right?

     

    Um, if someone doesn’t consent to something, it’s done against a person’s will.  The two cannot be mutually exCLUSive.

     

    I don’t know why I bother but, to repeat myself, just because someone cannot legally consent to something yet agrees to that thing does not mean the thing is done against their will. You’re conflating two very different concepts. One’s will is not subject to the law.

  • nonsense-nonsense

    I’m going to stop responding to you if you don’t get some serious comprehension skills.

     

    To reiterate, when it comes to abortion, rape and incest are typically linked together, as generally it’s assumed that an incest victim is also a victim of rape as, generally speaking, family members do not willingly have sex with each other. In the unlikely event that two family members willingly did have sex with one another then, no, she wouldn’t be getting an abortion because she was not acted to against her will, but rather she willingly participated in sexual intercourse.

  • nonsense-nonsense

    The problem is the adjective “forcible” – which specifically takes away non-physical coercion including unconsciousness or the prescense of drugs or statutory rape. That is the intention of this bill, is to de-legitimize rape if a victim was, say, drunk or unconscious. Aggravated sexual abuse in the Federal Criminal Code - (although it does not have the word ”rape”) includes coercion, unconsciousness, statutory rape, prescense of drugs as a form of sexual abuse. “Forcible rape” would not include any of that. What do you think honestly think Chris Smith’s intention is for this bill? Here’s a hint: it’s not about keeping the definition of rape in line with the NBIRS, as you stated in an earlier comment. It’s about denying abortion coverage to women who do not fall under a “certain” category of rape.

     

    This is just a flat out lie full of half-truths caused by blatantly ignoring those things you don’t like.

     

    Did you notice the link I provided entitled Clarification Regarding the Definition of Forcible Rape in the Summary system and the NIBRS? If you had, or even if you had read the damn copy and paste, or even the bolded parts of the copy and paste, you would have noticed it says that forcible rape is either defined as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” or “the carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity”, both of which are treated as the same.

     

    So, please, quit with the blatant lies because the above stated contradicts your claim about how the adjective forcible takes away non-physical coercion including unconsciousness or the prescense of drugs. It doesn’t, and to assert as much is baseless fearmongering. But since you believe it does, how about YOU provide a definition of forcible rape which does? Also, I feel the need to point out yet again that there is NO Federal law against statutory rape. States set laws against statutatory rape with limits anywhere from 14 (it may be 13) on up.

     

    Age as a general measuring stick of the capability to give consent is arbitrary?

     

    That’s a fairly blatant strawman, not to mention a deliberate misstating of what I typed, which was that age as a general measuring stick of the phychological capability to give consent to sex is arbitrary, which is completely different than what you tried to have me state.

     

    Are you serious? We are talking about children and teenagers here. Do you understand why these laws exist at all? In my opinion, it should be defined at the federal level in order to prevent children from being sexually abused. 

     

    But anyway, yes I’m serious. I also, apparently, understand the laws better than you do, especially as to why there isn’t one set standard but instead about 50 different laws, depending on the state.

     

    Do you have sources for “most any” of the psychologists that say it’s psychologically healthy for a 15-year-old to be having sex with someone who is several years their senior? There is an imbalance of power. Therefore, determining mutual consent is much harder than it would be for a psychologist to determine mutual consent between two 15-year-olds. That would be easier to do.

     

    Now this is a strawman if I ever did see one. What I believe I said was most any psychologist will tell you that there are some 15 year-olds more capable of making the decision to engage in sex than thirty year-olds. Don’t bother responding if all you’re going to do is deliberate misconstrue what’s being written out.

     

    What the hell? Am I misinterpreting what you’re saying, or…?

    If someone is NOT ABLE TO GIVE CONSENT, PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND/OR LEGALLY, how is that NOT rape?

     

    If she’s screaming “Bang me harder, bang me harder!”, to use a crude example, almost no one would believe that she’s not having sex willingly, as her actions, both verbal and non-verbal, determine what is and isn’t against her will, not the law. It doesn’t matter if the law says some guy banging her is illegal, as the girl in question is still having sex because she wants to have sex.

  • goatini

    who would use terms indicating a great deal of knowledge and expertise about a topic, like “typically”, “generally”, and “assumed”, in any kind of context having anything to do with sex crimes.

     

    I mean, one would have to know a lot about these things to even have a concept of how to estimate what constitutes typicalness, generality, and assumptions.  

  • plume-assassine

    I read what you copy/pasted from the NIBRS. Why isn’t that defined in the bill, if that is the definition they are sticking with? You also ignored my question… What do you think this bill is about, if it is not about denying coverage to victims of “certain” types of rape? It cannot be merely about “no taxpayer funding for abortion” (that is the title of the bill) because the Hyde Amendment already guarantees that there will be no taxpayer funding for abortion (and Obama ratified it.) There are exceptions to allow funding for rape victims and I see this bill as an effort to get rid of that exception. What else could it be, in your mind?

     

     age as a general measuring stick of the phychological capability to give consent to sex is arbitrary, which is completely different than what you tried to have me state.

    apologies, I missed that key word and did not mean to misconstrue what you were saying(??) Although if it is arbitrary, then why do we have those laws at all? Would you argue that one is capable of giving consent at any age, if “age as a measuring stick for giving psychological consent is arbitrary”? State laws will make it seem arbitrary. But, ideally, based on psychological development, it should be at or around 18. Age of consent and statutory rape laws exist to protect those teenagers who might not be capable of giving psychological consent to an older person, even though they say they “want” it.

     

     there are some 15 year-olds more capable of making the decision to engage in sex than thirty year-olds.

     

    It is a possibility that there are “some” but that they are in the developmental minority, and the law exists to protect those who are not capable of making the decision to have sex with, say, thirty year-olds, even if it means that there are some mature 15-year-olds who will be affected by the law.

     

    If she’s screaming “Bang me harder, bang me harder!”, to use a crude example, almost no one would believe that she’s not having sex willingly, as her actions determine what is and isn’t against her will, not the law. It doesn’t matter if the law says some guy banging her is illegal, as the girl in question is still having sex because she wants to have sex.

    You are talking about the law, but you used the term “able” which I associate with psychological ability to consent, not legal ability to consent. Ones actions do not always determine what is or is not against one’s will. For instance, a drunk woman is in a compromised mental state, and screaming “bang me harder, bang me harder” does not matter. Later, she might feel that she was raped and may not remember giving consent. The law would agree. In the same vein, it doesn’t matter if a teenager says the same during sex to a much older person. Later, they might feel that they were raped because they did not realize they were being coerced and manipulated. The law would agree. I had a friend in high school who had had sex with a guy who was much older than her. At the time she was all for it even though everyone cautioned her against it. Several years later, she confessed to me that she realized she had been manipulated and coerced and seriously misinterpreted what was happening to her. This may not be the case with all teenagers in an unbalanced relationship, but the law exists to protect those who are not mature enough to give consent.

  • prochoiceferret

    In the unlikely event that two family members willingly did have sex with one another then, no, she wouldn’t be getting an abortion because she was not acted to against her will, but rather she willingly participated in sexual intercourse.

     

    Well, I can certainly understand why you would be in favor of inbreeding, seeing as how you’re clearly the product of same.

  • beenthere72

    So who is to determine, with each case, the maturity of the minor and the degree of the rape?  What a waste of time and money, let alone being completely traumatizing to the victim! 

     

  • colleen

    exactly, goatini

  • beenthere72
  • ldan

    This is the disgusting level of conversation that ensues when someone tries to claim that only certain women ‘deserve’ abortions. We start arguing about whether it’s ok for teenagers to be manipulated by older partners, and whether it’s ok that they be punished for the fact that their lack of experience and (understandable) interest in sex should be manipulated this way.

     

    And the antis claim we’re engaging in mental gymnastics to justify abortion? What kind of creepy gymnastics does it take to argue that statuatory rape victims do not deserve assistance if they end up pregnant because they’re not *really* victims. 

     

    *We* are not conflating two different issues. We take issue with the idea that only certain classes of women deserve to access assistance for abortion, particularly when said assistance would not have similar strings attached were they were accessing it for any other health care. But we’re well aware that we’re stuck with this disgusting idea as far as federal law is concerned for now.

     

    Thus, we take issue with the idea that lawmakers want to further restrict this class of ‘deserving’ women by not only deciding that only rape victims are deserving, but certain rape victims just aren’t deserving enough. How is that a different issue?

     

    The ‘most people’ you talk about have not been polled to see if they believe statutory rape should be carved out of the exception they make for rape victims with regard to federal assistance for abortion. If you want to go out and conduct such a poll, rather than making assumptions for them based on your own skeevey reasoning, go ahead. Until then, we’re not the confused ones here.

     

    If *you* want to argue that statutory rape isn’t rape at all, then *you* are the one conflating a separate issue onto this argument. Since as of right now, statutory rape is recognized as rape. (well, at least in the states that are generally the ones responsible for actually administering Medicaid.)

     

    And have I said often enough yet how goddamn creepy this argument even is? I have friends with daughters in that 14-16 range and JFC is it disgusting to hear someone justify the type of manipulation that usually goes on when you see adults going after girls in this age range.

  • colleen

    (there isn’t, as each state sets it’s own age limits which vary widely, with the lower limit being the onset of puberty)

    I was surprised to see your claim of “the onset of puberty” as the “lower limit” for adult men to prey on little girls especially after we managed to embarass Utah into raising it’s AOC from 14 to 16 during the latter half of the 20th century.

    I see no mention of “the onset of puberty” as a marker for consent. Indeed the word “puberty” is not to be found anywhere in your document. 

    The AOC does not “vary widely” . NO state would use “puberty” as permission for adult males (who, btw, are almost always the problem in statutory rapes cases) because the onset of puberty varies a great deal and, as much as a segment of the male population wishes it  were different, having sex with 9 or 11 or 13 year olds is illegal in every state in the union.

    What AOC laws say is that children under a certain age cannot legally consent to sex.

    The sick thing about conservative males is that so many of you wish to simultaneously argue that a little girl (in your case a 15 year old) CAN legally consent to sex with your pathetic loser selves and at the same time you wish to punish her if she does.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Great post L-dan! Thank you!

  • plume-assassine

    And have I said often enough yet how goddamn creepy this argument even is? I have friends with daughters in that 14-16 range and JFC is it disgusting to hear someone justify the type of manipulation that usually goes on when you see adults going after girls in this age range.

    I agree, L-dan. This is some of the worst rationalization and rape apologism I’ve seen on this site yet. The comments about age being “just arbitrary” and talking about how a teenager could “willingly” consent to sex with a much older man are verbatim the kinds of thing you hear from a sexual predator. It chills me to the bone to even read this kind of justification for rape, and I find it very difficult to remain calm in dissecting such “arguments.”

  • beenthere72

    I have a 16 year old step daughter and nonsense’s comments make me want to punch him.  

  • squirrely-girl

    I’m going to stop responding to you

     

    Our loss for sure!

  • ldan

    And in your exceedingly crude example, explain again why the fact that the teenager may want to have sex (something that I’m pretty sure we can all agree is pretty common to teenagers in general) should in any way mean that said teenager not have all the protections available to a rape victim when that desire is manipulated by predatory older men?

     

    You still haven’t proven that somehow, the intent of leaving a loophole in Medicaid funding for the abortions of rape victims should be closed to victims of statutory rape simply because some of them may have- *gasp* -wanted sex.

     

    Besides, how is the underaged victim supposed to prove that it was forced sex instead of wanted sex? Once again, making a woman’s bodily autonomy conditional upon whether she’s a ‘good’ woman who was forced into sex, or a ‘bad’ woman who actually wanted sex (whether or not she wanted it that time, or without contraception, or…) is sick and disgusting–*particularly* when you’re trying to paint those distinctions onto children.

     

    I’m not even beginning to touch on the sexual precocity seen in victims of child sexual abuse, which, at the very least, makes their ‘willingness’ to engage in sexual activity a lot less cut and dried than simply asking if they’re mature enough to give meaningful consent. Let’s just say that your continued insistence that the teenaged victims of statutory rape don’t deserve the same care as ‘real’ rape victims marks you as a creepy and disgusting person I’m ashamed to share a species with.

  • ldan

    Thank you for doing so, though. I’ll yell for both of us since I have neither the time nor legal background to do the kind of dissection of his legal points that you’ve been doing.

     

    His phrasing is hitting every red flag trigger for me. Someone who tries this hard to convince themselves and others that young girls are actually willing participants in their exploitation smacks just a bit of ‘doth protest too much.’ There is a reason for society to have such laws, really.

  • ahunt

    Snerk. Well I guess we need to commute the sentences of all convicted statutory rapists if their victims were 15+.

  • ahunt
  • arekushieru

    Thanks for sharing, ahunt!  That blog is spot ON!

  • squirrely-girl

    Your lack of understanding of pubertal onset and prefrontal cortex development is obvious. 

     

    Sadly, it’s not uncommon for onset of puberty to begin as young as 8 and 9 in young girls. Alternately, the prefrontal cortex (section of the brain responsible for judgement and decision making) isn’t fully “wired” and working until late teens and even early 20s.

     

    To argue that a 15-year-old is “fully competent” is a stretch at best. At worst I see it as an attempt to justify having sex with minors who lack decision making ability. :/

     

    Edited to add: Did I mention you don’t hide yourself very well in your writing? How ’bout you toss in some philosophy and we’ll throw a party? :)