House Republicans Drop 'Forcible Rape' Language From Abortion Bill

House Republicans Back Off 'Forcible Rape' Language In Controversial Bill

House Republicans announced Thursday that they are taking a step back from a particularly controversial passage of a piece of anti-abortion legislation that many had criticized as a dangerous redefinition of the acts that constituted "rape."

"The word 'forcible' will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment," a spokesman for Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), one of the sponsors of H.R. 3. The "No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act," told Politico.

The Hyde Amendment is the existing measure meant to bar the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions.

Here's the key passage from the latest bill, which appeared to provide a narrower interpretation for what would be considered as rape.

'[I]f the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest;

As HuffPost's Jason Linkins reported earlier this week, the undefined nature of "forcible rape" had left many questions about what actual exceptions would be allowed.

Sady Doyle at Salon outlined one such concern:

H.R. 3's language brings us back to an ancient, long-outdated standard of rape law: "Utmost resistance." By this standard, a rape verdict depended not on whether the victim consented, but on whether outsiders thought she resisted as hard as humanly possible. Survivors rarely measured up.

On Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) blasted the bill as a "violent act against women in and of itself," due to its seeming provision of some instances in which victims of rape would be denied abortions.

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