“Oh, ok, what we really meant was …”

So, after the “only in cases of forcible rape” hoopla around HR3, the Republican Tea House partiers have said they’re going to change the wording of the bill.  There’s an excellent piece from Dianne Williamson in this morning’s Worcester Telegram that discusses the change but then moves to the other ways the bill is problematic even with the return to the Hyde Amendment language about rape.

(And I can’t resist throwing in one of my favorite pieces about the rape language from Kristen Schaal on The Daily Show.)

Whenever the issue of abortion came up in class, my students — many of whom were vehemently anti-abortion — would ask me if I would have one.  Would I?  If I were pregnant today, I’d be throwing a party (ok, yes, right now that would be an immaculate concepcion party, but never mind), and would probably never consider an abortion.  But just because I don’t want one doesn’t mean I don’t want to have the choice to have one.  Trying to explain my “probably never” to my students was always interesting.  All they could hear was my “No,” and not the fact that my answer represented the fact that I have a choice.  That “probably never” is key, though.  As much as I want to have a child, would I continue a pregnancy if it put my life at risk?  No.  Would I continue a pregnancy if it was the result of rape? Well … I’m not sure.  I think my answer would be “No,” but I’d still think the right to make that choice is mine, and not something to be dictated by the government.

To be a little less hypothetical: Would I have had an abortion last year if I had gotten pregnant while I was dating Tarik?  Not a chance.  Would I have had an abortion when I was 22 if I’d gotten pregnant after having broken-condom sex with that cop from Seattle when I was on vacation?  Uh, yeah, in a heartbeat.

Women’s bodies have been objects, property, for centuries.  Existing for pleasure, reproduction and punishment.   Think of the abuses of slave women in this country.  Think of correction rape.  Think of rape as a tool of war.   You can chart history through attempts to control women’s bodies.  Does anyone believe HR3 is the last assault on women’s reproductive rights?  This House has shown, within seconds, which way it leans.  So a public bashing over “forcible rape” edged them back a step.  They haven’t given up and won’t any time soon.


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