Commentary Law and Policy

HR 358, The Let Women Die Act of 2011, Is Tantamount to Legal Rape

Lorraine Berry

When it comes down to it, these laws represent legal rape. If rape is the insertion of an object into the body of an unwilling person, then what else can you call laws insisting that a woman submit to pregnancy regardless of her age, the circumstances under which she became pregnant, her health, or her general well-being?

As if we needed more proof that the culture wars are NOT over, the House of Representatives passed the ironically titled “Protect Life Act,” rather than deal with the issues of joblessness, hunger, homelessness, and general economic misery.

Under the Protect Life Act, which passed the House 251 to 172, no health insurance policy that offers abortion coverage could be purchased with federal money made available through the new health care law. Current federal law prohibits plans in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program from covering abortion. The new bill would apply the same rule to plans in the newly created health exchanges, which are subsidized with federal government tax credits.

The bill presented Thursday also says that the federal government may not discriminate against health care providers that refuse to provide abortions by refusing them federal funds under the health care law.

I’m not sure how a law that could deny treatment to a pregnant woman whose pregnancy is in trouble can possibly be construed as “protecting life.” Well, I can, actually. I’m familiar enough with the anti-choice crowd’s double-speak to know that when they say “life,” they mean “fetuses,” and when they say “protect,” they mean from those disgusting women who grow those fetuses but who want to kill them.

Get the facts, direct to your inbox.

Want more Rewire.News? Get the facts, direct to your inbox.


Are there women, anywhere, that they trust? I feel fortunate that I had a spontaneous abortion in 1996, and not today. Today, I would worry that an investigation would be launched as to what I had done to provoke my body into expelling the fetus that my husband and I both desperately wanted. If I had been in  Mississippi, rather than North Carolina, that might have happened. 

We already make it nearly impossible for young women to get an abortion. We tell them they can’t have morning after contraception if they are under seventeen. We limit access to contraceptives. And then we wonder why a woman finds herself pregnant and not willing to give birth? 

One in eight women in Sierra Leone will die in childbirth. Tell me again how childbirth is safe, and how women who choose to have abortions are selfish, undependable, untrustworthy, and, ironically, unable to be trusted with a choice (although of course trustworthy enough to raise children against the odds). 

500,000 women a year die in childbirth each year. Again, please, with how safe it is? 

The United States ranks No. 29 in the world in infant mortality. More babies survive in Cuba than in the U.S. Tell me again how we don’t need national health care?

Prior to 1973, 5,000 women a year died from illegal abortions. It is now twice as safe to have an abortion as it is to give birth. 

70 percent of the world’s poor are women. Tell me, please, how women can raise themselves out of the depths of poverty if they cannot even control their own reproduction? 

Do you really think we would be having this conversation if we said to men, “Look. Pregnancy still kills hundreds of thousands of you each year worldwide. It causes multiple health issues for many more. Your body is going to be regulated–not only by the law, but by lots of folks who believe your pregnancy is their business. But, Having a baby is the most sacred thing you were put on this earth to do. So, sorry. You’re having this baby whether you want to or not.” 

How long do you think anti-abortion laws would stay on the books if men could get pregnant? 

And, of course, it’s not just men who are anti-choice. Plenty of self-hating women at Concerned Women for America and other groups of its ilk are all too ready to hold women down while they are raped by the law. 

Because, when it comes down to it, this is what these laws represent. Legal rape. If rape is the insertion of an object into the body of an unwilling person, than what else do you call laws that insist that a woman submit to pregnancy regardless of her age, the circumstances under which she became pregnant, her health, or her general well-being? 

The same members of Congress who think that we don’t need nationalized health care, who believe that 47 percent of us are freeloaders, who think that asking millionaires to take a tax hike is unAmerican–these same members of Congress think that denying a woman healthcare in order to force her to stay pregnant is okay. 

“Protect Life.” Snort. My ass. 

“The women in my father’s practice for whom he did abortions educated me and taught me that abortion is about women’s hopes, dreams, potential, the rest of their lives. Abortion is a matter of survival for women. TRUST WOMEN.” -Dr. George Tiller 1941-2009, murdered by an anti-abortion terrorist.

Load More