Outsourced to Mark Kleiman:
Redefining rape: Should a twelve-year-old girl impregnated by her mother’s boyfriend be forced to carry the child to term? Yes she should, according to 173 House Republicans, including the Speaker.... James Joyner is right to point out that the “rape exception” to anti-abortion laws makes either no sense or the wrong kind of sense. If bans on abortion reflect the inalienable human rights of the fertilized egg, then surely those rights can’t be diminished by the conditions of conception. The “except for rape” rule would be justified only if the point of the law is to punish women for having sex. (That is the point, of course, which is why the “pro-life” lobby is strongly anti-contraception and anti-sex education. But it wouldn’t do to say so.)
Still, the gross (in both senses of the term) injustice of forcing a woman to bear her rapist’s child means that absolute bans on abortion have very little support among the voters. And the right-to-lifers have generally been satisfied with something that, according to the logic of their own position, shouldn’t satisfy them at all.
But the vicious lunacy of the new Republican majority in the house seemingly knows no bounds. H.R. 3, “The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” – identified as a high priority by Speaker John Boehner – reiterates current law banning the use of federal funds for abortion, but changes the rape exemption to provide that funding shall be available “if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.” The key word is “forcible.” Date-rape, rape by drugs, and statutory rape are all excluded....
If the Republicans were trying to eliminate the rape exception entirely, they could at least lay claim to a sort of foolish consistency. But... the decision to proclaim that a large class of rape victims is not innocent can only be called stupid and heartless.