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Rape is redefined with new abortion bill

By Katherine Yaremko, Columnist

Abortion has long contained a place among the pantheon of issues that regularly provoke outrage within the media. Recently, the issue has created even greater controversy, following the introduction of a Representative bill entitled "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act."

While I am aware of my position on many political issues, I will admit that abortion remains one on which I am divided.

I sympathize with those who claim that it represents the taking of a life, or what has the potential to become a human life. I also see circumstances in which I would consider abortion permissible.

The bill however, intends to do more than merely limit the amount of federal money used to pay for abortions.

Its most disturbing aspect is its redefinition of the word "rape." Only if an interaction was considered "forcible rape," would government funds contribute to abortion coverage.

This leaves the door open for dismissing cases in which rape was undeniably committed, but the amount of immediate suffering experienced was questionable – a woman under the influence of drugs who is taken advantage of, for instance.

Should she be denied federal assistance for an abortion since she wasn't raped in a state of fully conscious, physical agony? Apparently, ignoring a woman's "no" is not considered sufficient evidence to warrant the label "rape," as critics of the bill have pointed out.

What this legislation essentially communicates is that unless a woman undergoes extreme pain and trauma under a sober state of mind, a sexual encounter she doesn't consent to isn't really rape, and therefore, isn't worthy of the same federal aid for an abortion.

Women raped under the influence of a drug, whether taken intentionally or not, may not be raped with the same degree of overt force.

It is nothing short of callous to imply that the act was therefore not traumatizing.

As much I do not want to see abortion regularly used as another form of birth control, which some might choose to view it as, moral absolutism with regard to the procedure is also not an ideal route.

Morally opposing abortion, or any issue, should not provide a pass for converting personal opinion into public policy without considering the consequences for a public that falls under a wide spectrum of varying circumstances.

If we continue to allow our political actions to be determined by our personal, emotional reactions to issues, no matter how highly-charged those issues may be, we will only impede the compassion critical for responsible, conscientious politics and the enrichment of humanity.

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