Friday, February 4, 2011

Are We Ready to Satirize Rape Myths?

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Are we ready to laugh about rape? When so many people don’t comprehend the realities of sexual assault in the United States, I wonder if we’re ready to chuckle all-knowingly at a satirization of pervasive myths about rape. Well, ready or not, the Daily Show tackled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” with scathing satire from comedian Kristen Schaal. With a straight face and Jon Stewart as her foil, she takes on the alarming concept of “forcible rape” being different from “regular rape-rape” and highlights how essential (and yet quite rare) it is that federal funding is available for abortion. When Kristin describes something as “rape-ish”, I wonder how many people laughed just because they were uncomfortable, not because they understood the absurdity of what she was saying. Do you think it was clear? Some are crediting Schaal with victory after the bill’s sponsors removed “forcible” from the bill. If you haven’t told your representative how you feel about this bill, take a minute now to do so.

Monday, January 31, 2011

“No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act"

Last week, New Jersey Republican Chris Smith introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”, a bill which aims to severely restrict a woman’s right to choose by denying federal assistance for abortions except in the case of “forcible rape”.

What does this mean?

Smith’s bill will prevent many women who are victims of rape or incest, including statutory rape and date rape, from seeking federal assistance for an abortion. Women and even girls under the age of 18 who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest, as well as high-risk pregnancies that endanger the life of the woman, can be denied insurance coverage if they choose to have an abortion. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”, if passed into law, would take away health insurance benefits from women and girls, many of whom will be unable to pay for an abortion if it isn’t covered by Medicaid or private insurance.

One of the most outrageous provisions of this bill is limiting federal assistance for abortions to instances of “forcible rape”, which is a term that suggests that rape is not inherently a violation of a woman’s body, but is only a violation in certain instances. Will a victim of sexual assault be required under this law to provide evidence of the type of rape prior to getting federal assistance?

This bill is important to our work here at CAASE because we advocate for women who have been victims of sexual assault and strongly believe that these women should have access to safe and affordable abortions and health care services.

Unfortunately, the bill has strong Republican support in the House, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who has declared that a ban of federal funding for abortions is one of the GOP’s top legislative priorities.

Want to know more?

Pro-Choice advocates have expressed their outrage about this bill. This is what Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, had to say about the bill

Read the Mother Jones Article: “The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape