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Do Reps Regret Sponsoring “Forcible Rape” Amendment?

Rep. Todd Akin's comments sparked a nationwide controversy and response to any qualifiers attached to the word, "rape" - in conversation and legislation.

Rep. Paul Ryan has taken more heat than most after it was revealed that he co-sponsored legislation that used the term, “forcible rape.”

But Ryan, along with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin – who has been hammered for days over his “legitimate rape” remarks – were only two of a number of co-sponsors on a House bill that would have limited the use of taxpayer funding for abortions.

House Resolution 5939, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” was introduced July 29, 2010. An amendment to the bill would have prohibited the use of taxpayer funding for abortions except for a few exceptions, such as: “If the pregnancy is the result of an act of forcible rape, or incest with a minor….” (emphasis ours).

Before H.R. 5939 died (“referred to committee”), it garnered 186 co-sponsors – including 10 Pennsylvania Representatives.

They were, in order of district: Reps. Kathleen Dahlkemper, Glenn Thompson, Jim Gerlach, Bill Shuster, Christopher Carney, Paul Kanjorski, Mark Critz, Joseph Pitts, Tim Murphy and Todd Platts.

Dahlkemper, Carney and Kanjorski have since been voted out of office.

By the time the bill was reintroduced in the 112th Congress as H.R. 3 (where it notable lacked the word “forcible” – dropped before the bill was voted on) it had even more co-sponsors – at 227 – and passed the House May 4, 2011.

This version of the bill had 12 sponsors from Pennsylvania – seven of whom voted for the first bill, too.

Of the remaining five, four of them – Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Butler), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) and Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) – had not yet been elected and could not have voted for the bill.

The one remaining representative was Rep. Tim Holden (D-Allegheny). He has since lost a Democratic primary and will not seek reelection this fall. He was the only one who did not vote for the first bill, but then cast his vote when it was reintroduced in this Congress.

Calls to his office Friday seeking comment were not returned.

But that leaves the seven who voted for both: Reps. Thompson (R-Centre), Gerlach (R-Chester), Shuster (R-Blair), Critz (D-Cambria), Pitts (R-Chester), Murphy (R-Allegheny) and Platts (R-York).

The legislation, and bills similar to it, have been introduced regularly for years and have often garnered bipartisan support.

But what PoliticsPA wondered was, did any of them regret voting for the first bill, or have their feelings changed since Akin’s regrettable remarks sparked a firestorm?

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester):

“All this legislation does is to make clear something that a majority of the people who I represent in the 6th District support,” Gerlach said in an email. “That is: federal funds should not be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Throughout my entire career in public service, I have always been honest about being pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.”

Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria):

“Congressman Critz doesn’t believe that taxpayer funds should be used to pay for abortions. He absolutely disagrees with the notion of ‘forcible rape,’ which is why he fought successfully to have it removed from the bill before the House voted on this legislation,” Critz’s Press Secretary Matt Mazonkey said in an email.

“In regards to Congressman Akin, his comments were inexcusable and disgusting.”

Calls to the remaining representatives were not returned Friday.

28 Responses

  1. Don’t you idiot Libs get it?…it’s GODS WILL if a woman is raped…who are we to question GODS WILL…Mike Huckabee says so…oh, btw, looks like ole Huck’s been hitting the feeding trough a little hard lately, no?

  2. Why don’t you conservative men make yourself useful in society and fight against rape and dead beat dads like Rep. Joe Walsh, instead of trying to dictate women outside the home, because we know who the boss really is inside the home, don’t we?

  3. Fitzpatrick/Akin 2012! This is America! Rights and freedom shouldn’t have to be voted on.

  4. I love @Dave and @capdot’s denial of reality. It makes my support of the Democrats that much stronger

  5. I think someone already noted this, but…We do realize that the original wording was changed, correct? We do know that the objective of the original wording was to distinguish between a violent act and a case which could feasibly be a 16 year old girl who is in love with her 18 year old boyfriend. God bless them in their love, but I don’t want my tax dollars paying for their abortion, should their love result in a pregnancy that they don’t want. The Hyde Amendment is a joke in its own right when it comes to the PPACA where the DHHS has authority to write the regs governing healthcare in this country. An Executive Order to get a Democrat to vote for the PPACA is worthless, as Mr O. knew when he signed it. Do we all know the legislator whose vote was bought with this sham? Probably not, because he came to the realization that he sold out and he did not seek reelection. PS: It was Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. Some new info reported yesterday: “Former Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) and other pro-life Democrats plan to issue a formal challenge to the hold that Planned Parenthood and NARAL have on the Democratic Party when it meets for its convention in Charlotte on September 4th” See this site:

  6. Steven, you need to stop getting your numbers from the Heritage Foundation. They’re the ones who predicted that the Bush Tax Cuts would pay down the debt by 2012

  7. 2 Million Jobs have been LOST since January 2009 and the unemployment rate is up 0.5%. You don’t get to cherry pick when you start counting to cook your numbers to the best possible effect. The date is January 20, 2009.

    21 million working age Americans will wake up with nowhere to go on Monday morning. 16% of Americans are living in poverty. The economy is barely growing at an anemic 1.5%. Obama has added $5 trillion to the debt to no positive economic effect. If you’re cool with that, you’re cool with that. But to me that’s not acceptable. American can do better than we are doing under the failed leadership of the 18 hole wonder.

  8. Imaginary? Its hard to believe your stance when the numbers are as follows: Unemployment has dropped 2%, 29 straight months of private sector job growth, 4 1/2 million private sector jobs created (over 4 times the number of jobs created under W) and the aforementioned 2010 numbers. What’s imaginary about all that? Oh, and the stock market is at Clinton levels.

  9. Uh, yes job creation is counted one way. That’s kind of the way everything gets measured: One way. It’s the definition of actual comparison. Obama gets blame for the economic collapse that happened under Pelosi and Reid’s 110th Congress. Oh, wait, the collapse wasn’t the 110th Congress’ fault? Then how can anything about the imaginary recovery be pinned to the 112th?

  10. Your forgeting that the recession lasted through the first 6 months of his presidency. Since that time, over 4 1/2 million jobs have been created. And unemployment was over 10%. We’ve had improvements. Gradual, and not at the pace we would like to see. But your assertion of Obama’s economic failures is grossly exaggerated. And compared to the last guy, there’s no comparsion who’s the better job creator. And no, job growth isn’t viewed just ONE way. That obtuse thinking contributed to how we got here

  11. I like how we even grade Obama’s job creation on a curve now. Sure, you take out 2009 and 2011 and it looks OK. Truth is, since Obama took office, there’s a net LOSS of jobs. Job creation has ALWAYS been counted one way: You look at what jobs were there when he started and you look at now. NET LOSS and not a single month of unemployment under 8%

  12. @seanryan. In 2010 alone, more private sector jobs were created than 8 years of George Bush. And we’ll balance the budget when the obstructionist Republicans don’t block EVERYTHING in congress, even legilslation that was their idea, like the healthcare mandate

  13. So where are the Jobs from the Stimulus?

    And finally when is Obama going to reduce the debt by half? He only has about 6 months left and about 2 months till the election. I wanna know how he is going to get our debt to 6 trillion in that time frame?

  14. Dear LycoGirl, do I think that Obama just wants babies killed? No, I just think he didn’t want to bring down the profit margins of abortionist, who provide him with lots of campaign cash. But, I still think that being “pro-choice in all cases”, including gender selection abortions, is pretty extreme in this country, and I think that the media didn’t give it a fraction of the same news coverage.

  15. Because, Steven, this isn’t about using the correct legal terms. This is about doing an end around Roe v Wade, when declaring a women cannot obtain an abortion because she obviously wasn’t a “real” rape victim if the “rape” resulted in pregnancy. You want to hold these clowns up – the same ones who are science-illiterate – as some sort of professionals who know what they’re doing. What they’re doing is following an agenda. It might not be a “war” on women, but it sure feels like one. And Mary, if you are trying to convince readers that Obama wants babies who survive abortion killed, you need to re-examine just what the heck is living in your heart. I certainly hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian with all that hate residing there.

  16. @LycoGirl – So it’s your contention that lawmakers don’t use legal terms while writing laws? Have you ever read a law? They’re, literally, full of legal terms. It’s kind of what they do.

  17. Are we still pretending that an elderly befuddled man who wants babies to live is a worse human being than our President who voted three times against requiring medical care for babies who survived an abortion procedure?

  18. Yes, Steven, I’m sure they were concerned about using the correct “legal” definition. That’s exactly why they didn’t include “aggravated” – that was on purpose, right? I swear you guys will fall for anything.

  19. Finally! A voice of reason @steelblitz. It’s already established law. Its merely an attempt to continue their “culture wars” nothing more. Why Republican’s are arguing forms of rape is beyond me. As Obama said, “rape is rape”. and when Republicans start trying to categorize rape, women lose

  20. It’s called the Hyde ammendment. I can’t believe how stupid regular republicans are on this issue.

  21. Are we still pretending that “forcible rape” isn’t a commonly used legal term to distinguish from “statutory rape?”

  22. This bill doesn’t make any since. Federals ALREADY cannot be used to fund abortions, its called the Hyde Amendment and has been law for many years. And where is Mike Fitzpatrick’s response? He supported this legislation and should be ashamed that his constituents have contend with their congressman being so closely aligned with Todd “legitimate rape” Akin

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