Jason Chaffetz Doesn't Believe in Non-forcible Rape

Introduced on Jan. 20, 2011, "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (or H.R.3) is a bill intended to cut the amount of tax-payer money going to provide women with abortions. What, of course, is strange is that there is already legislation in place to limit the amount of women receiving tax-subsidized abortions: the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment both place limits on who can receive Medicaid money for abortions and when. What's stranger is that the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" attempts to radically redefine the definition of rape to include ONLY "forcible rape". Forcible rape is that which can be proved by a vast amount of extant physical evidence (namely in the form of blunt force trauma). The rest of rape - coercion by a friend or colleague, rape by drugging, or incest between a child and a full-grown adult - is written off as invalid.

There are two names at the top of the list of the 173 co-signers to the bill: Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop. Utah's finest. I don't live in Bishop's district but I do (somehow, even though he lives in Alpine?) live in Chaffetz's district. So I wrote him a letter. It follows below:

Mr. Chaffetz,

Let me make it clear to you. I did not vote for you. I do not like your style of politicking. I'm in the midst of writing an article for the BYU Political Review about how much I dislike your choices and where you choose to place your considerably hefty power.

That being said; I don't think you're all that awful of a person. And I honestly don't think you're in Washington intentionally trying to harm others. Your support for "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion", however, will do exactly that. Did you know that between 80 and 93% of the reported rapes in Utah are committed by someone that the victim knows(http://health.utah.gov/vipp/rapeSexualAssault/overview.html)? By your signing of HR3, you're cutting out a significant (i.e. 80 to 93% of the 63.7% out of 100,000 women who are raped annually in UT) portion of those who have already been stripped of their right to choose not to get raped, from deciding what to do following their rape. By narrowing the definition of rape to what is defined as "forcible rape", you are saying that the only legitimately accepted definition of rape by the United States Congress is the kind of rape that takes an overwhelming amount of extant physical evidence of blunt force trauma to prove. This totally discounts rape via coercion and drugging.

Utah has some of the highest sexual assault statics in the nation. By sanctioning the narrowing of the definition of rape, you are aiding and abetting continual widespread sexual violence against women. This bill is about more than cutting down on tax-sponsored abortion. There's already the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to limit the amount of women benefiting from State-sponsored abortions. This bill is not about abortion. It is about the common misconception that, somehow, women are responsible for rape. It is about clamping down the right for a woman to choose what her course of action will be after the traumatic and unthinkably life-altering experience of having someone rape her. This is not about being pro-life. It is about much, much more.

So I would like to cut you a deal, Mr. Chaffetz. If you cut your endorsement with this bill, I will vote for you in the next election.

As an alumni of BYU and a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I ask you to please reconsider your stance on this issue. I am a member of your constituency and you are indebted to hear me out. I pay for your stint in Washington. Never forget who you're there to serve. The women of Utah Valley, and the men who stand behind them, need you on their side in this issue.

Alexander Ross Christman

I encourage anyone who cares about the prevention of rape and rape apology to write their Congressmen and the Congressional leaders. You can email them (find their email here), or tweet at them (make sure you use the hashtag #DearJohn), or you can mail them a letter. Whatever. Anything. If you care about breaking down the rigid barriers that protect rapists and further victimize women, please take some time and get involved.

Reading material:
Text of H.R.3
Mother Jones
Sady Doyle's #DearJohn crusade


Breeza said...

I'm not an American or anything, but I am a citizen of this world, and America signed this document on December 10th 1948, with a majority of the rest of the world. So, although I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with this constitution, I just want to bring this up...

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3 states that
"Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person."

(Rapists are inarguably violators of this part of the universal constitution.)

Article 8, further states that "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law."

It is the government's responsibility, to provide efficient aid to victims of rape, in aborting pregnancy which has been forced upon them, if they choose. Regardless of how "forcible" the act appears to have been. The victim's "security of person" has been more than violated, and not only the American government, but indeed, any government should take responsibility in giving aid in whatever capacity should be required in such a circumstance.

David Cramer said...

Way to actually participate in politics instead of just moralizing in isolation. I like the bargain idea :)

Emily said...

I miss your posts.

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