Sisterhood Blog

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Takes On Bill That Would Redefine Rape

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
house.gov
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of South Florida.

I’ve spent the week reporting on the all-out assault against abortion access that’s happening state-by-state in America right now. It’s a scary scene, demonstrating how quickly many lawmakers will move against women’s bodily autonomy once they gain power.

But on the national level, the most headline-worthy move against women has been a new bill in Congress, H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” or as NARAL calls it, “Stupak on Steroids.” which would not only strip existing abortion funding, it would redefine “rape” as forcible, leaving most instances of sexual assault in a gray area when it comes to abortion funding. In other words, the government can essentially analyze your rape to determine whether it’s worthy of abortion funding. Irin Carmon at Jezebel has an excellent analysis of why this language, even if it was accidental in intention or not really meant to be codified into law, is dangerous just in its existence. Several bloggers have started a #DearJohn Twitter campaign to draw attention to the bill (the John in question being Speaker of the House Boehner).

To add insult to injury, anti-abortion activists are launching a secondary assault on Planned Parenthood’s funding, what Politico calls “an aggressive” campaign. Due to the Hyde Amendment, government funding to Planned Parenthood Federation for America never goes to abortion. So these groups are seeking to essentially cut off funding for health care that includes cancer screening and STD testing by using the abortion issue as a wedge.

I’ve been writing about the law encroaching on women’s bodies for The Sisterhood for many, many months, through the fight for health care reform and onwards. And this is the most genuinely frightened I’ve been. It’s the sense of assault from all sides that causes such a panic.

Fortunately for our blood pressure, not to mention our rapidly-shrinking rights, we do have some heroines left. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz spoke out loudly and forcefully against this bill, saying “I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women,” and adding that even though it won’t pass, it’s an example of the encroaching power of the radical right-wing agenda for women.

Leah Berkenwald at Jewesses with Attitude really summed up my feelings. Like me, she felt that the Twitter hashtag campaign was going into the void, and Wasserman-Schultz helped give her hope. “Thank you, Debbie, for re-energizing and reassuring me. We can fight this together,” she wrote. I can only add to her words the hope that there are more Capitol Hill fighters on the right side of this issue than are immediately evident. I wonder why lawmakers on the left side don’t have the courage to turn this issue around to expose the backwards social agenda that lurks beneath the economic talking points of their opponents.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Planned Parenthood, John Boehner, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Abortion, Rape

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.