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Dispatches From The War On Women: Fact Checking Rape Culture

Dispatches From The War On Women: Fact Checking Rape Culture

Welcome to Dispatches, a look at the latest news and issues from the trenches in the War on Women. Have a story from your state or an idea on how to push back? Share them here and fight back against the War on Women.

We are, indeed, fully in the age of post-factual politics.

House Republicans spent a lot of time and taxpayer dollars pushing the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill that sought to redefine “rape” to “forcible rape” as one of three limited circumstances when abortion was acceptable. It’s a bill that Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was especially fond of because it’s a fundraising double whammy: cutting federal spending and restricting abortion access.

And in the Protect Life Act, a bill that would have amended the Affordable Care Act to prevent federal payment to health plans that include abortion coverage, Republicans again tried to narrow the categories of acceptable abortion procedures from one in cases of rape to ones in cases of “forced rape.”

It’s a truth U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin spoke on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. Moore, a rape survivor, is a tireless advocate for women’s rights. She said: “No victim of domestic violence or bullying — man or woman — should feel unprotected in America. Yet when Democrats acted to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, Republicans in the House moved to weaken it. In other legislation, they have even tried to change the definition of rape.”

But,†according to Politifact, these things didn’t really happen, and Rep. Moore’s statements are “mostly false” because she didn’t explain why Republicans were trying to change the legal definition of rape in these statutes.

Moore said House Republicans “tried to change the definition of rape.”

Her statement contains an element of truth, in that GOP members sought to change when federal money for abortions could be used in cases of rape, by using the term “forcible rape.”

But the claim ignores critical facts that would give a different impression — the House Republicansí effort was not to change the definition of rape, per se, but rather to restrict the use of federal funds in abortions.

Precision of language is important, but Moore’s statements were not misleading because they failed to connect every dot for her listener–the underline sentiment and motivation was accurately articulated. Republicans wanted to change the definition of rape in the context of when a woman can access a full range of medical care in connection with that rape.

And doesn’t this just seem to be the perfect expression of rape culture? Rep. Moore, a woman of color and victim of sexual violence dismissed for speaking the truth on the conservative assault on women. PolitiFact’s take on Moore’s statement and the quibble with the circumstances under which anyone would want to exclude care for victims of statutory rape, date rape, and cases when a woman couldn’t provide sufficient evidence she fought back convincingly enough is just the kind of reinforcement conservative ideologues were looking for and just the kind of perpetuation of misogyny women don’t.

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Photo from tacit requiem via flickr.

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131 comments

+ add your own
10:07PM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

men are sick and deeoly disturbed many times, rape is always wrong no matter of the situation

6:14AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Guess they won't be happy until women are forced to be stay at home moms, barefoot and pregnant, and chained to the kitchen! Caveman mentality! Why are these idiots so scared of women? Makes me sick.

11:08AM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

For the GOP scum rape is the will of god, and pregnancies from rape is god's wish. Jail the neo-con right wing pseudo christian repugliscum bigots. these twisted bigots should be waterboarded, this is god's will.

11:28PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Women + unite + planned parenthood + equal pay = OBAMA

GET REGISTERED AND VOTE......This is the WOMENS Election!!!

9:09AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

thanks

7:46PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Yeah Boner is 0 for 591. On day one 591 days ago he promised to work on Jobs.

Since then

Nothing says Jobs more, than transvaginal probes.

7:02PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

This issue has not 'reared its ugly head', for some time, now. It's quite compelling that it is coming up, at this time.

The answer, I believe, is about the lack of control, men feel over women, in 2012. The insecure ones had to find some issue, since female pesons are entering politics and every other area of business, around the world.

Thank heavens, we have men on this site, who have self-respect, like themselves, and have respect for women. It's such a pleasant situation.

4:33PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

The problem is....women have always been a target...even more so...now..our country is trying to put us into containers and isolate us from life...in other words...don't go anywhere you are liable to be raped...don't party, don't hang out in bars, go home and then get raped by the psychic dicktatorship of your country.....either way...its rape.....

If we defend ourselves and get rid of our rapists we get rid of ourselves into the same prisons they should have been in in the first place.

It seems we cannot depend on those elected into the highest offices of our country.

3:34AM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Forcible rape - so a woman is going to have to show some signs of physical molestatio, her word is not going to be enough. What happened to the best advice in dangerous circumstances - do what is required to preserve your life i.e. do not endanger your life by fighting back? If this new thinking appears on the statute books how many women are not going to report a crime which is already not reported enough for fear of disbelieve or of being torn to pieces by a defence lawyer in court?

10:31PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

Republicans are against women, children, families and the middle class. Vote the out of office in every state at every opportunity. Romney and Ryan are definitely the wrong choice for America now and in the future.

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