Patrice Ellerbe, Staff WriterLast Modified: 21:44 p.m. DST, 11 January 2014
WASHINGTON, DC - Sexual assaults are something no woman, or man, ever wants to speak about. To have the privacy of your body snatched from you and exposed to someone who has no right, is already a traumatic situation itself; but having to plead your case to someone like your state representative or tax collector is absurd!
This past Thursday, 9 January 2014, the U.S. congressional committee will either rule out or pass Rep. Chris Smith’s anti-choice bill. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, the bill would force sexual-assault survivors who hold access to abortion care, to prove the assault actually happened. Reports would be made to the IRS, as if the plead to the local police department isn’t enough.
During the 2012 Presidential election, Republicans across the board took some pretty antiquated and in some cases, ridiculous stances on rape and women’s reproductive rights. One of the most egregious offenders was Republican Congressman Todd Akin who stated in August 2012 stated a position that is widely held by conservative Americans but rarely voiced. The belief that a woman cannot get pregnant through rape, with a subtext that is much more revealing because it implies that if a woman is raped and gets pregnant then she must have wanted it and is only afterwards crying foul.
Now, a panel of 12 men on the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill Thursday on bill number (H.R. 7), otherwise known as the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion” bill. This bill would deny tax subsidies to women and who purchase health insurance plans that include abortion coverage. The bill only makes an exception for rape and incest victims and women who would die without abortion care.
According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, the effect of the bill is comprehensively anti-women, anti-pro-choice, and punitive toward women who try to exercise their basic rights. The group argues that the legislation would:
Raise taxes on small businesses and individuals who buy insurance with abortion coverage outside the exchanges. It does so by imposing tax penalties on individuals and small businesses that choose private health plans that cover abortion care. (Absent political interference, 87 percent of private plans cover abortion services.)
Eliminate abortion coverage from private insurance plans sold through Obamacare exchanges. This bill includes a provision that would effectively end abortion coverage for women in state insurance exchanges who use their own, private funds to pay for their insurance and ban abortion coverage for millions of middle- and low-income women who will receive partial subsidies to purchase insurance.
Spur audits for rape survivors. H.R.7 eliminates medical-expense deductions for abortion services, with exceptions only for cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is in danger. As a result, the bill could prompt the IRS to audit a sexual-assault survivor who seeks abortion care with her own, private funds.
This anti-choice bill, H.R.7, would also put millions of small businesses in danger by taxing them if they choose to cover their employees with abortion coverage- which most private plans do. However, tax experts believe if the bill was to pass, most businesses would do away with their abortion coverage in fear of being taxed.
Pro-Choice America stated, women are becoming so desperate in states that have practically banned abortion, such as Texas, that they are crossing the Mexico border in hopes to have an abortion.
At this time NARAL Pro-Choice America is asking for the public’s help. H.R.7 is one of the very first bills being debated in 2014, states NARAL PCA. In order to stop the bill from being passed, they have asked for the public to contact your member of Congress and let them know you are opposed to the rape audit bill. Though it is unlikely that the bill will pass the Senate and if it does, there is virtually no chance the President Obama will sign it into law.
The goal of NARAL and other women’s rights organization is to raise awareness of the trend of attacking and trying to eliminate women’s rights, particularly reproductive rights in this country. It is important that people across the nation continue to demonstrate how important this issue is to them by publicizing this silent campaign against women and making sure that the assault which started during the 2012 Presidential election against our rights and our bodies does not gain momentum.Follow Patrice Ellerbe on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Staff Writer: @PatriceEllerbe
- Congressional GOP renews abortion focus (msnbc.com)
- All-Male Congressional Committee Is Considering Sweeping New Abortion Restrictions (thinkprogress.org)
- Why 2014 Could Be A Huge Turning Point For Reproductive Rights (thinkprogress.org)
- Michigan Passed a 'Rape Insurance' Bill Despite State Senator's Speech About Her Own Rape (thewire.com)