Currently, the federal government denies taxpayer monies to be used to pay for abortions, except in cases when pregnancies result from rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the woman's life.
However, if the 173 mainly Republican co-sponsors of the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" have their way, that would all change. Instead of keeping the 30-year-old definition of rape in federal law, the bill would modify it to "forcible rape," thereby severely limiting the health care choices of millions of American women and their families.
In other words, rape would not be rape unless violence were involved; however, the term "forcible rape" was left undefined, leading some to speculate its meaning since it is also not defined in the federal criminal code or in some state laws.
"This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible," Nick Baumann of Mother Jones wrote recently.
He continued, "For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion."
If the bill becomes law, parents of minors would also be banned from paying for pregnancy termination for their daughters with tax-exempt health savings accounts. Also, the cost of the private health insurance that covered the treatment would not be able to be deducted as a medical expense for tax purposes.
The bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) was the second major piece of legislation filed by the Republicans after its attempt to repeal "The Affordable Care Act." Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) hailed Smith's bill as "one of our highest legislative priorities."