Clarification on HR 3 Research

The following is a correction to some information posted in these pages about HR 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." This Act was commonly referred to as legislation where Republicans would "redefine rape."

On January 20, 2011: Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced the legislation which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only "forcible rape" and not "rape" generally. Two weeks after introduction, the Washington Post reported that legislation could be used to diminish sexual assaults that had traditionally been recognized as rape, such as statutory rape, and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.

On February 3, 2011: Representative Smith’s office announced that the word “forcible” would be dropped from the legislation, and additionally the legislation would protect those who were victims of incest and when the life of the mother was in danger.

However, it was not until March 3, 2011, that Representative Trent Franks actually changed the bill through a procedure known as a “Managers Amendment.”

If a Republican Cosponsored HR3 Before February 3, 2011:

Co-Sponsored Bill to Redefine Rape

In 2011, XXX co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only “forcible rape” and not “rape” generally. Under the language proposed by the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, rape becomes “forcible rape.” The Washington Post reported that the bill’s critics believed “the modifier could distinguish it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically recognized as rape, including statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.” [HR 3 Co-Sponsors, 112th Congress; Washington Post, 2/1/11]

If a Republican Cosponsored HR3 Between February 3, 2011 and March 2, 2011:

DATE: XXX Co-Sponsored No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act

On January 20, 2011, Rep. Chris Smith introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act,” a bill meant to ban federal funding for abortions. On DATE, NAME cosponsored the bill. [HR 3 Co-Sponsors, 112th Congress]

Initially, the Bill Redefined Rape

Shortly after the bill was introduced, it stirred a controversy with opponents claiming it contained language more narrowly defining “rape” as “forcible rape.” The Washington Post reported that the bill’s critics believed “the modifier could distinguish it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically recognized as rape, including statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.” [Washington Post, 2/1/11; Politico, 2/3/11]

February 3, 2011: Washington Post Reported that the Narrow Definition of Rape Had Been Changed

On February 3, 2011, Rep. Chris Smith’s office announced that modifier “forcible” would be dropped so that the exemption covers all forms of rape, as well as cases of incest and the endangerment of the life of the mother. Moving one step further, the Washington Post reported that the language was actually removed from the bill. [Politico, 2/3/11; Washington Post, 2/3/11]

But The Bill Wasn’t Changed Until March 3, 2011

The bill, however, contained the more narrow definition until March 3, 2011, when Rep. Trent Franks introduced a “Manager’s Amendment” excluding the “forcible” modifier, and it was passed by a voice vote. [House Committee on Judiciary’s Website, accessed 7/10/12; Manager's Amendment, 2/28/11]

Correction: This bullet was previously written incorrectly. It has been updated to reflect the timeline of when the bill was changed and when it was cosponsored.

If a Republican Cosponsored HR3 On or After March 3, 2011 / Voted for HR3

Voted to Undermine a Woman’s Right to Choose

In 2011, XXXX voted for a bill which undermined and harmed women’s health by limiting access and funding for abortions.

The bill dramatically changed the laws regarding abortion access and funding. The legislation made the annually-passed Hyde Amendment (barring the use of federal funds for abortion) permanent, prohibited federal medical facilities from providing abortion services, and kept individuals from “deducting abortion as a medical expense unless it was the result of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother”.

The section on deducting abortion expenses led many to worry about “abortion audits” where the IRS would be charged with determining if a woman who became pregnant and used tax-exempt funds (health savings accounts or deducted the costs) to terminate the pregnancy met the specifications of the pregnancy being the result of rape or incest or if pregnancy risked the life of the mother. [The American Independent, 5/04/11; The Hill, 5/04/11; Mother Jones, 3/18/11]

The bill passed 251-175. [HR 3, Vote #292, 5/04/11]

XXXX even voted against a motion which specified that nothing in the bill allowed the federal government to access medical records of rape and incest victims.

The motion failed 192-235. [HR 3, Vote #291, 5/04/11]