How to fight back against the GOP's attempt to redefine rape
I first learned about GOP-backed H.R. 3, the bill that would redefine rape, last week from Nick Baumann’s reporting in Mother Jones, and like so many others, I was shocked, upset, and – make no mistake – angry. But I was not alone, and I watched as one online activist after another began incredible efforts to sound the alarm about this cruel bill that would tell survivors of rape that they just don’t count if it wasn’t “forcible.” Of course, the notion that any rape isn’t “forcible” would be laughable if this all weren’t so horrifying and incredibly harmful to victims of sexual assault.
It was heartening, in light of this appalling legislation, to see so many rally together to fight back against H.R. 3 and the redefinition of rape. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I’ve been closely following the writing and activism of bloggers Amanda Marcotte, Sady Doyle, Chloe Angyal, Irin Carmon, Jill Filipovic, and Deanna Zandt – and I would strongly encourage you to follow them as well. These women, and many others, have been on the front lines of educating people both about the dangerous bill and also how to fight against it.
My colleague at EMILY’s List, Hilary Nachem, wrote a blog post earlier this week in the form of an open letter to the GOP about their priorities and why they are targeting our most vulnerable women. The response to this post was overwhelming, and the comments were powerful and heart-wrenching:
Speaker Boehner please do a lot of thinking about H.R. 3 before you support it. This is a flagrant attack on the rights of women. I sincerely hope this is not the true agenda of these new people. Please think twice before you start talking away the freedom of women. – M.P.
Rape is rape. Sometimes force can be psychological as well as physical. I don't want to go back to the days when victims had to Defend themselves in court. I thought we had moved beyond that. – A.B.
What this bill would do in reality is further limit and control access to health care and treatment for women who do not have the resources to help themselves. This is despicable playing of politics using the lives of women who can't fight back. – K.M.
Feeling fired up yet? Then take action. First, make sure you join our community in taking a stand against this outrageous bill by signing our petition. The more voices we can get to join together, the more potent our condemnation of H.R. 3 will be.
Ready for more? Then time to get on the phone or start writing emails. Use this link to find your representative, and then call their office or write them to let them know that H.R. 3 is unacceptable. When communicating, always be civil, but make sure you message is personal and persuasive. Here are some points (hat tip to Garland of Tiger Beatdown) that may be helpful to you:
- H.R. 3 would make the Hyde Amendment permanent
- H.R. 3 would interfere with private insurance companies covering abortion care
- H.R. 3 victimizes rape survivors further by classifying certain assaults as “forcible” and others as not
- H.R. 3 also seeks to redefine the “health of a mother” to a much narrower standard
- H.R. 3 goes far beyond the Stupak Amendment, which was stopped last year
- H.R. 3 is part of a GOP anti-woman agenda that goes after some of our most vulnerable citizens
Lastly, Speaker John Boehner has come out in support of H.R. 3. You can contact him via email or call his office here. If you are on Twitter, then join so many of us who are speaking out by tweeting at John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) and using the hashtag #DearJohn. A sample tweet from Shelby Knox that mentions Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
This community has already been vocal in their opposition to this terrible and harmful bill – thank you, and keep it up!
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An open letter to the GOP